Today I returned home from Nurnberg, Germany after an amazing two weeks there. I flew on Lufthansa, leaving this morning on an A321 flying from NUE
to F R A and then on an LH
A340-300 from F R A to ATL
. The flight path today for that second flight was bizarre. Below is the great circle route:
We deviated a lot from this. The plane took off and circled around, flying to the north and going over the German coast to the North Sea. We flew over the North Sea, never reaching Great Britain, but instead passing just north of the Shetland Islands. A little while later, we flew over the Faeroe Islands and continued northwards towards Iceland. We made landfall over Iceland on its west coast and flew across the country leaving back over water on the opposite coast. Later, we crossed southern Greenland and finally made landfall over Canada. The plane turned southward, crossing the southeastern tip of Hudson Bay and turned completely south, flying over Michigan, Dayton, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Tennessee, and then finally into ATL
. At times we were moving extremely fast (greater than 630 mph). The flight took a total of 9 hours, 8 minutes. First of all, why did we fly so far off the great circle? I understand that rarely do flights follow a great circle exactly, but this was extremely off. Also, was this a rare circumstance that we had tail winds headed west, given our high speed? Any other input would be appreciated. Thank you very much!