London to US Flight Path


New member

I have noticed that most of the time the flights from London to the USA (specifically east coast) follow an "up and over" route where the plane flies north-west from London and starts moving southwards again as it passes south of Greenland, finally coming down over Newfoundland, Maine, Boston etc .... I understand this is the quickest route(?)

The past couple of days, the flight I am watching (BA117) appears to be leaving London and heading South-West before straightening due west about half way through the flight. This seems like quite a large deviation from the normal route I mentioned above. Does anyone know the main reason for these course changes? Is it purely down to turbulence and jet streams? I had a look at the turbulence charts yesterday and it does seem a bit choppy out in the atlantic at the moment.....Are the planes trying to fly south of this?

Any information would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks



Lifetime Elite
Flights usually fly great circle routes, because that's the shortest way. You can check the shortest way from LHR to JFK here:
As there is a lot of wind over the Atlantic, they may fly a longer route, but with less headwind on that particular route this will be the shortest and thus the most economical way to fly.
In case of forecasted severe turbulence the route may be different as well, but 99% of the longer routings are because of flight time / fuel burn.
Hope this helps.