JetBlue has given up the extra leg space. Other airlines are anti-pig. Levitating trains are still in the realm of make believe. Skateboarding cross-country is probably a weeee bit time-prohibitive. But in the not-so-distant future, getting from NYC to LA should be a piece of cake: a new group of supersonic jets are being developed that will cut travel time across the country in half.
Among these new jets—which have already started being used in the private and business jet market—is the N+2 (see photo above), designed by Lockheed Martin. It's specifically intended for commercial use, can fit up to about 80 passengers, and can get you from LaGuardia to LAX in two and a half hours.
"To achieve revolutionary reductions in supersonic transportation airport noise, a totally new kind of propulsion system is being developed," NASA N+2 program manager, Michael Buonanno, told Daily Mail. "We are also exploring new techniques for low noise jet exhaust, integrated fan noise suppression, airframe noise suppression and computer customized airport noise abatement."
Other companies are working on supersonic jets that can fly from London to NY in three hours, and from Los Angeles to Tokyo in six hours. That design, the Aerion AS2 business jet, will be made mostly from carbon fibre composite material.
Of course, it'll take a few years before you're able to actually use one of these, but it IS coming to the commercial market. Now it's just a question of whether it'll reach us before we get our vacuum tubes. Or maybe scientists will unlock the secrets behind Ray Davies' supersonic rocket ship.