Virgin Galactic flight

Are flights from New York to Beijing in two hours nearing reality?

In a paper released by British consulting firm Knight Frank, which specializes in trends for “ultra-high net worth individuals,” sub-orbital commuter flights that travel at around 4,000 miles per hour (today’s planes fly at about 500 mph), will be ready for the public by 2020.

So, imagine waking up in NYC, getting a cup of coffee and before you finish reading your newspaper, you’re in Beijing, China.

Apparently, this is closer than we think. According to Yahoo Finance, the key factor is getting companies that are already approved for sub-orbital space travel (like Virgin Galactic) to begin looking at travel around the globe, instead of into the atmosphere for novelty.

Virgin founder Richard Branson has said he’s looking into it, imagining a “future version of the current spaceship which will make transcontinental travel clean and fast — London to Sydney in a couple of hours.”

However, when it does become a reality at the end of the decade, it’ll likely be available only to the world’s top 0.01%. Because… flights are estimated to cost anywhere between $90,000 and $250,000 a trip.