So how high do planes fly? This is a question many people have asked themselves before embarking a flight trip. Looking through your airplane window at the ground and seeing the ground slowly getting farther and farther away, it’s no surprise that the question gets googled frequently. It can be somewhat unnerving to be so high up, so a clear clarification on your altitude can be somewhat reassuring. To understand just how high planes typically go up, see the simple explanation below.
Simply put, the average commercial aircraft will cruise at an altitude of 30,000 - 42,000 ft (which equates to 9,000 – 13,000 meters). In simpler terms, commercial aircraft can go about 5-7 miles in the air, depending on the route. For some deeper insight, Mount Everest, reaches an altitude of 29,029 ft which equates to about 5 and a half miles. In summation, the average aircraft will climb and cruise at altitudes higher than the tallest mountain in the world.
Some might find that fact a little daunting, but the reality in aviation is that, the higher the plane, the better the fuel efficiency and the better the flight. A jet engine can operate more efficiently at a higher altitude than at a lower altitude. This is because the air is much thinner, thus allowing the aircraft to travel faster while burning less fuel.
Air at higher altitude is not only thinner, it has less drag (the resistance that pulls against the aircraft during flight and takeoff). Thinner air benefits the aircraft in that the engines are able to run closer to their maximum RPM limit or maximum (exhaust) temperature limitations. At lower altitudes, the engines can only be run at maximum thrust during take-off or perhaps the climb or else the aircraft would quickly exceed its maximum speed limitation. For more information on aircraft components, contact the folks at
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