Ill winds

In article http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msargasso.html SDSTAFF MEBuckner says

Jetliners are very much at the mercy of the winds. The average transcontinental flight can take an hour or more longer in one direction than the other due to the effect of headwinds and tailwinds.

As a pecentage of the total journey time I would guess that winds affect aircraft much more than cargo-ship.

Good point. I guess I could weasel; modern jetliners aren’t at the mercy of the winds that way–that is, they may wind up in London (or New York) an hour or two later or an hour or two sooner, but they won’t be drifting helplessly for weeks on end until the fresh water supplies and those little bags of pretzels are all gone.

You may also be wrong about the jet planes being at the mercy of the Winds. If Thomas Gold is to be believed, large jet liners can be brought down, especially over the Bermuda Triangle, by gusts of gas http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tg21/hazard.html

Hmmm…there’s something in the seafloor which is sending up gas plumes to 35,000 feet–typical operating altitude for a jetliner–with these plumes being energetic enough to affect aforesaid jetliners seven miles up (or alternatively the plumes are detonating in large explosions in the stratosphere)–and this has not been deteced by anybody’s seismographs or satellites? (I’d think this is the sort of thing the U.S. Defense Department would have noticed.) And just which mysterious disappearances of jetliners over the Bermuda Triangle are we talking about, anyway?