How High Do Planes Fly?

We all know that when we are up in the sky on a plane, it feels like we are extremely high up and sometimes can’t even see the ground. This can be when you are above the clouds or in misty weather but there are differences in height for different durations of flights.

How High Do Planes Fly?

This article will be covering the different heights that planes will fly at depending at what location they are flying to and the different types of planes that fly at different altitudes. 

Commercial Planes 

Commercial planes are constantly flying back and forth from different locations day in and day out which uses a lot of fuel. Therefore, they fly at certain heights to preserve fuel which is also why they fly at lower speeds as well.

They fly at much higher altitudes which can be between 5-7 miles up in the air. 

The reason for flying this high in the air is because the higher you fly, the thinner the air is at that height. This means it is able to conserve fuel at these heights meaning more flights can take place each day. 


Planes can not fun as efficiently when they are flying at lower altitudes because the pressure of the air will put strain on the engines of the plane. Therefore, they can not run as efficiently as when they are flying higher. 

The engines work better and can work faster making the plane fly faster at higher speeds. When there is strain put on the engines, this means that pressure is also put on the entire plane which can cause damages.

When the engine is burning less fuel, the plane is actually able to fly faster and there is also less resistance on the plane and it will not drag as much in the sky. 

It is the same with a car. When the windows are down in a car, the wind coming in through the windows will drag the car making it use more fuel to run because it comes heavier. 

Jumbo Jets 

Jumbo jets are a lot bigger than most planes because they are flying over longer distances and have to have the engine sizes to be able to fuel them throughout the long distance journey.

Therefore, they need to be flying at higher altitudes of 30,000 feet to reach the necessary speeds that are both efficient and safe for the plane and passengers. 

Can Planes Fly Too High? 

Yes, planes must stick to a safe altitude depending on what aircraft it is. Military planes are able to fly much higher and faster because of their size and weight.

However, commercial planes have to stick to anything below 42,000 feet due to the liquids that are used. The liquids will not be able to work efficiently if the plane was to fly above the 42,000 feet and could potentially cause the engines to not work properly. 

Different types of planes are all built differently and made to fly at different heights. For example, a military p[lane has been known to fly up to 90,000 feet efficiently. You also have business jets that are able to fly up to 50,000 feet. 

There are also some rocket powered planes which are able to reach up to 100,000 feet in the sky due to the type of fuel it is using the the way it has been built. However, these types of planes are not for commercial use at all and are only used for collecting data. 

Why Can’t Commercial Planes Fly Above 50,000 Feet?

Why Cant Commercial Planes Fly Above 50,000 Feet?

It is all to do with the air quality at that altitude because it gets thinner and thinner the higher it gets. It can become near enough impossible to keep burning jet fuel at these high altitude levels because you will need excessive amounts. 

It is also about the lift the plane is able to get from flying. There are some exceptions such as the U2 subsonic planes that have both long and thin wingas that make the lift possible. 


Overall, planes must fly at a certain height depending on how they were built and the purpose they were built for. Commercial flights must fly at a certain height to conserve their fuel at an efficient rate and also for the safety of the plane.

When the plane gets too high or low, more pressure is put on the engines which also puts pressure on the plane. The engines need to be in good shape to be able to fly the plane and ensure a safe flight. 

There are many different types of planes that are used for different purposes and use different types of fuel, engines and wings for flight.

The planes which are used for military purposes are built specifically to reach those higher altitudes at much higher speeds because they can carry less people.

The weight of the planes are also a factor for both height and speed because jumbo jets need to be flying higher than shorter distance journeys to make sure the engines are running efficiently and the fuel is flowing better. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Airplanes Fly At 38000 Feet?

Most planes will fly at 38,000 feet because the higher you go, the thinner the air becomes. It is much safer for commercial aircrafts to fly at this height because it is still efficient for the engines at this height.

If the plane is flying lower than this, the air is too dense and it makes it more difficult for the plane to fly efficiently and the same goes for flyers higher. The thinner air makes it difficult to burn the fuel. 

How High Can A Commercial Airplane Fly?

There is a difference between business jets and commercial flights in how high they are able to travel. Business flights are able to travel up to 50,000 feet in the air and commercial flights only between 38,000-42,000 feet. 

Jodie Price
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