Can you imagine reaching any location on the planet in less than an hour? It may sound like something out of a science fiction novel but according to the U.S. military hopes to have a hypersonic rocket jet with such capabilities in as little as four years.   The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) confirmed last Wednesday that they are working on the X-plane, a rocket plane that will be capable of flying at Mach 20 (20 times the speed of sound) or 13,000 mph!

For comparison sake, the Concorde was capable of flying at Mach 2.04 or 1,354 mph and had a range of about 4,500 miles. The average flight time between London and New York was just 3 hours and 20 minutes.

The timeline might be questionable considering that a test flight last August stayed afloat for only nine minutes after reaching Mach 20.  I do think they’ll eventually figure it out in the next ten years but don’t get your hopes up on this technology transitioning to passenger service any time soon.

Writing this entry got me thinking about redeeming miles on the Concorde.  Unfortunately, I had just gotten into the miles game as the Concorde was being retired from active service but wow that would have been the ultimate redemption (not that I’m not excited about my two recent Singapore First Class redemptions).  Did you know you were able to redeem AA, Delta, Continental, and SPG miles and points amongst others for a trip?  Considering these were considered first class seats the rates weren’t bad either, especially with the SPG Qantas trick

125,000 AAdvantage Miles
100,000 SPG Points
200,000 OnePass Miles
160,000 SkyMiles
125,000 US Airways Miles
200,000 Membership Rewards Points

BA173 LHR 0930 JFK 0829. Daily but not operated in August
AF001 CDG 1100 JFK 0845. Daily
BA171 LHR 1115 JFK 1014. Daily

BA172 JFK 1015 LHR 1900. Daily but not operated in August.
BA170 JFK 1215 LHR 2100. Daily
AF002 JFK 1300 CDG 2245. Daily

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Frequent Flyer University July 12, 2012 - 10:09 am

Great post! Always love to read about The Concorde. It is crazy to think that when the Concorde retired, we actually regressed a bit in Air Travel.

adam July 12, 2012 - 10:50 am

@FF University – Thanks, totally agree, would have loved to fly the Concorde!

Mike July 12, 2012 - 10:33 am

Is it really for a plane? Or are they actually figuring out ways to make missiles?

adam July 12, 2012 - 10:51 am

@Mike – It’s being hyped as a plane and one of the previous articles from mentions manned aircraft.

Don July 12, 2012 - 11:09 am

From what I remember, finding a mileage award on Concorde wasn’t much of a problem…. the plane was usually half/three-quarters full, at most. I flew BA’s a few times for work, and cashed in CO miles for a reward on AF. It was loud and cramped compared to today’s standards… but the service was incredible.

Aaron July 12, 2012 - 2:02 pm

I love how on the westbound flight (because of time zones) the Concorde arrival time is before it the departure time. It’s like a time machine!

FlyThai July 12, 2012 - 3:23 pm

Concorde would have been a bucket list item for me. I wish they would fly them once again…

BrewerSEA July 12, 2012 - 5:22 pm


This is still the case for many eastbound TPAC flights because of the international date line. In fact, I’ve flown CX888 which departs HKG at 12:30am and lands in YVR at 9:30pm the day before!

Julie July 15, 2012 - 1:29 am

There was a little-known courier service on Concorde and if you volunteered to be the courier on that day’s flight, your ticket price was a few hundred quid instead of the usual fare.
If you were BA staff (and I was) the fare was even cheaper – less than 300 GBP – and an additional benefit was a confirmed J class return leg from anywhere in the US.

I did this 4 times total and it was amazing. I have incredible memories and still can’t believe how lucky I was.

adam July 15, 2012 - 2:15 am

@Julie – That sounds incredible, very jealous but glad you got this amazing experience…4 times!


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