Source: Discussions with BX Mumbai team on my flight from New York to Mumbai
Problem: The flight from New York (Newark - EWR) to Mumbai (Bombay - BOM) takes the aerial route as shown in the figure. Why do the flights not take straightline distance to minimize cost?
Hint: The answer is mathematical. Do not think of regulatory or political reasons.
Update: (19-07-2012) Assume earth is perfect sphere