10 Shortest Commercial Airline Flights in the World
Would you book a flight that lasts fewer than two minutes?
You have to arrive at least two hours before your flight and go through check-in, security, and immigration (if you’re traveling internationally). You wait to board, spend time while the air traffic controller clears the plane for take-off, and then you’re in the air. On landing, there’s taxiing, hold up for luggage, and security checks and immigration. Yes, flying is complicated and time-consuming; not to mention, it’s not exactly good for the environment. So, would you go through all of this for a flight that lands before you can listen to even one full song, much less an entire album?
Westray and Papa Westray
Flight time: Less than two minutes
The world’s shortest scheduled flight takes under two minutes. If the winds permit, passengers can travel between Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney archipelago of Scotland in just 47 seconds. Regional UK airline Logan Air celebrated its millionth passenger in 2016.
The flight takes policemen, teachers, students, and doctors in an eight-seater Britten Norman Islander aircraft, and has been operational since 1967. The alternative to this 1.7-mile flight is a rocky boat ride, which lasts 20 minutes.
Karpathos and Kasos
Flight time: Five minutes
The Olympic Air flight ferries passengers between two Greek islands, Karpathos and Kasos, in five minutes. The distance is just 12 miles and you can also take a ferry to cross over—the ride is an hour-and-a-half.
Connemara and Inis Mór
Flight time: Less than 10 minutes
The Aran Islands, a group of three Irish islands at the mouth of Galway Bay, are postcard-pretty. They offer a window into Irish culture and take your breath away with their beauty. You can take the ferry from Rossaveel or Galway, but for a quicker hop, you can book a flight from Connemara in Inverin to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, and get there in under 10 minutes. There are flights to the other two islands, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, too.
St. Maarten and Anguilla
Flight time: 10 minutes
Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten is a popular airport. Planes fly right overhead and people go to the beach for plane-spotting. But there’s another reason for St. Maarten to feature on travel lists—it operates a short flight to Anguilla’s Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. The distance is 12 miles and the flight lasts just 10 minutes!
St. Maarten and St. Barts
Flight time: 15 minutes
Want to island hop in the Caribbean? You can reach the glamorous island of St. Barthelemy (a French territory in the Caribbean) from St. Maarten in 15 minutes. The ferry will take half an hour longer, but it won’t have the thrill of taking off and landing at two of the world’s most dramatic airports .
St. Maarten and Saba
Flight time: 15 minutes
Saba Island, a Dutch territory in the Caribbean, is also just a 15-minute ride from St. Maarten. The short flight is memorable for another reason—Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport in Saba features the world’s shortest commercial runway.
Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar
Flight time: 15 minutes
These two areas in Tanzania have the Indian Ocean between them. You can take a ferry to cross over, or fly from the financial hub of Dar es Salaam to the beautiful semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar island in 15-30 minutes, depending on the airline you choose.
Minami-Daito and Kita-Daito
Flight time: 20 minutes
Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture and it’s home to 160 islands. Two of them, Minami-Daito and Kita-Daito, are located eight miles from each other and you can fly from one to the other in less than 20 minutes.
NASA Johnson Space Center[Public Domain]/ Wikimedia Commons
Bonaire and Curaçao
Flight time: 25 minutes
The Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Curacao are located off the coast of Venezuela and called the ABC islands (along with Aruba). Bonaire is widely known as a diving destination, while Curaçao is the largest island of the three and has beautiful beaches. The distance between the two sister islands is 40 miles, about 25 minutes on a plane.
Paulo Miguel Costa/Shutterstock
Brazzaville and Kinshasa
WHERE: Republic of the Congo and The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Flight time: Less than 30 minutes
This is the shortest flight between two national capitals. From the capital of the Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville, to the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, the distance is a mere 16 miles that can be covered in less than 30 minutes. The River Congo separates the two capitals and crossing on a boat takes less time than jet setting to the other side.