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Meltdown 05-01-2014 10:11 AM

Shortest Commercially Available Flight?
 
What is the shortest commercially-available passenger flight? Exclude stuff like chartered flights, where you have to make special arrangements. Also, I want to keep the focus on transportation, so exclude stuff like sight-seeing flights, or flights for the purposes of skydiving, that sort of thing.

Two categories:

1) Over water (you couldn't drive yourself there).
2) Over land

For the first, I note that Cape Air has a flight from Hyannis to Nantucket, with a scheduled duration of 22 minutes.

For the second, I note that Cape Air also has a flight from Boston to Hyannis, with a scheduled duration of 35 minutes.

(And no, I'm not a shill for Cape Air, I was just on the Cape over this past weekend and found myself interested in the concept of really short flights.)

Can you beat those, or have I answered my own question?

Thanks!

TriPolar 05-01-2014 10:14 AM

I'd rather fly Sandpiper Air out of Tom Nevers Field. It's likely to be island hopping like that somewhere in the world.

nearwildheaven 05-01-2014 10:20 AM

Some of the Hawaiian flights are very short too.

Sicks Ate 05-01-2014 10:22 AM

I was hoping there was a flight between Hilo and Kailua-Kona HI.

Turns out there shortest trip between the two is a few hours long, due to the layover in Honolulu :smack:

ETA semi-ninja'ed :)

Colophon 05-01-2014 10:22 AM

It used to be a 2-minute flight between two islands in Shetland (Scotland) IIRC, but I think the flight no longer operates.

It was listed in my old Guinness Book of Records.

Edit: it's Orkney, not Shetland, and it looks like it is still running. I misremembered this story about the pilot on the route retiring last year: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-22668150

Quote:

Stuart Linklater, 59, will retire after making his final trip on the route between Westray and Papa Westray.

It takes just two minutes - including taxiing - to complete the 1.7 mile flight, which is about the same length as the runway at Edinburgh Airport.

Ethilrist 05-01-2014 10:25 AM

It's only about 7 miles as the crow flies from Oakland Airport to San Francisco Airport, but for some odd reason all the flights I'm finding list a travel time of 3-5 hours. Maybe they use actual crows...

OldGuy 05-01-2014 10:26 AM

I don't know if you're counting helicopter flights, but Copterline has ten flights a day between Helsinki and Tallinn that run 18 minutes.

nevadaexile 05-01-2014 10:26 AM

There are daily flights from Fort Wayne,IN to Chicago and Detroit which take 45 minutes and 35 minutes respectively,including taxiing and getting to the gates. You spend more time getting to the airport and later to your destination than you do in flight.

There used to be a flight from Fort Wayne to Dayton,OH (25-30 minutes total) but it was dropped due to a lack of passengers.

Rick 05-01-2014 10:27 AM

You can fly United Express from John Wayne (SNA) to LAX maybe 40 miles or so.
United also used to have a flight that went down the Central Valley of California. Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, then on to LAX Stockton to Modesto is about 40 miles, Modesto to Merced is maybe 50 miles.

txtumbleweed 05-01-2014 10:31 AM

It's Loganair from Papa Westray to Westray and is scheduled at just 2 minutes.

You can watch the whole flight on YouTube.


Blast, beat by Colophon while I was checking the links.....

Colophon 05-01-2014 10:34 AM

Here is the current timetable for Loganair's interisland flights.

As well as the two-minute Westray - Papa Westray flight, there are some other flights taking 10 minutes or less:

Stronsay to Sanday: 6 min
North Ronaldsay to Eday: 8-9 min.
North Ronaldsay to Papa Westray: 10 min.

I don't think you will beat Westray to Papa Westray though! Here is a Google Map showing how close the airstrips are: http://goo.gl/maps/cIVZy

LibrarySpy 05-01-2014 10:36 AM

Atlanta to Muscle Shoals is 16-19 minutes of flight time, depending.

Dewey Finn 05-01-2014 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethilrist (Post 17339195)
It's only about 7 miles as the crow flies from Oakland Airport to San Francisco Airport, but for some odd reason all the flights I'm finding list a travel time of 3-5 hours. Maybe they use actual crows...

My guess is that's a shuttle bus route, rather than an actual flight.

Duckster 05-01-2014 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethilrist (Post 17339195)
It's only about 7 miles as the crow flies from Oakland Airport to San Francisco Airport, but for some odd reason all the flights I'm finding list a travel time of 3-5 hours. Maybe they use actual crows...

Ran a generic flight search for OAK-SFO on this flight search engine. Al flights require one stop, often through PDX (Portland, Oregon).

So the most direct flight between the two cities on the Bay go through Oregon.

robert_columbia 05-01-2014 11:29 AM

Vieques Air Link offers flights between Ceiba, Puerto Rico (RVR) and Vieques, Puerto Rico (VQS) that seem to be only ten minutes long. Ceiba is on the main island of PR and Vieques is one of the smaller islands, so you can't walk there (there is a ferry though).

Here's a flight I pulled up on their site:

10/05/2014 Sat 401 06:15 RVR 06:25 VQS $34.00

Pretty cheap too!

bizerta 05-01-2014 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meltdown (Post 17339145)
... For the second, I note that Cape Air also has a flight from Boston to Hyannis, with a scheduled duration of 35 minutes.

BOS to Provincetown is 28 minutes.

Iggy 05-01-2014 11:42 AM

Cayman Airways offers routine service between the Sister Islands of Little Cayman And Cayman Brac. Flight time is 10 minutes.

PastTense 05-01-2014 01:28 PM

Aren't there any helicopter flights between an urban airport and its central business district?

nevadaexile 05-01-2014 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PastTense (Post 17339791)
Aren't there any helicopter flights between an urban airport and its central business district?

In the US, after the 1977 Pan Am Building accident, these were pretty much stopped. Government helicopters can land on midtown rooftops; but private aviation has to land at either ground pads or specially designed heliports.

KCB615 05-01-2014 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meltdown (Post 17339145)

For the first, I note that Cape Air has a flight from Hyannis to Nantucket, with a scheduled duration of 22 minutes.

For the second, I note that Cape Air also has a flight from Boston to Hyannis, with a scheduled duration of 35 minutes.

(And no, I'm not a shill for Cape Air, I was just on the Cape over this past weekend and found myself interested in the concept of really short flights.)

Can you beat those, or have I answered my own question?

Thanks!

Close with Cape Air, at least for over water.

Their shortest flight is New Bedford to Martha's Vineyard and vice-versa. It's listed as a 12 minute flight, but it is routinely about an 8 minute flight.

DChord568 05-01-2014 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duckster (Post 17339297)
Ran a generic flight search for OAK-SFO on this flight search engine. Al flights require one stop, often through PDX (Portland, Oregon).

So the most direct flight between the two cities on the Bay go through Oregon.

I found something similar doing a quick search for flights between Akron-Canton Airport and Cleveland Hopkins. Seems you can't do it without a layover somewhere else far afield from either.

Saint Cad 05-01-2014 02:15 PM

I was flying to Phoenix via SLC. Coincidently, my stepson later had to schedule a flight to LAX via SLC and got on the same flight I did. Because of the time I bought my ticket vs. the time he bought his it was cheaper for me to fly from Colorado Springs to DIA while it was cheaper for him to drive just so we both could get from the Springs 73.05 miles to Denver for the same flight.

Ravenman 05-01-2014 02:23 PM

Topic Air in Belize has a 5 minute flight from Ambergris Caye to Caye Caulker.

kunilou 05-01-2014 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nevadaexile (Post 17339202)
There are daily flights from Fort Wayne,IN to Chicago and Detroit which take 45 minutes and 35 minutes respectively,including taxiing and getting to the gates. You spend more time getting to the airport and later to your destination than you do in flight.

The shortest one I've ever been on personally was Indianapolis-Chicago. It's listed at 55 minutes but is actually more like 25.

Once upon a time you could actually fly between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

sitchensis 05-01-2014 02:37 PM

Ketchikan to Metlakatla is 13 minutes

ftg 05-01-2014 03:19 PM

I once took a flight between neighboring cities that was barely up in the air before the descent phase started.

I Googled to see what the current flight times are. 4+ hours. No more direct flights.

Isn't the hub system wonderful?

R. P. McMurphy 05-01-2014 05:20 PM

I've got a candidate for shortest flight/biggest plane:

I was flying to Kinshasha, DRC and was on a 757. It first landed in Brazzaville, RC, then took off across the Congo River and landed in Kinshasha. It was maybe a leisurely 15 minute flight. I can't imagine how much fuel was burned getting that thing in the air just to land it again.

Lord Feldon 05-01-2014 05:40 PM

There used to be flights from one side of Houston to the other, between Houston Intercontinental and Ellington Field, about 30 miles apart.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nevadaexile (Post 17339202)
There used to be a flight from Fort Wayne to Dayton,OH (25-30 minutes total) but it was dropped due to a lack of passengers.

There used to be flights from Columbus to Dayton too. I think there was a regional carrier for US Airways that had a small hub there.

suranyi 05-01-2014 06:00 PM

The shortest flight I've personally been on was a USAir DC-9 from Ithaca to Elmira, New York. That's 32 air miles. I distinctly remember the pilot saying airtime would be 8 minutes.

The flight continued to Pittsburgh, where I made a connection to San Francisco.

Silophant 05-01-2014 11:30 PM

According to Wikipedia, there used to be scheduled flights between MSP and St. Paul's downtown airport. It doesn't say the flight time, but the straight-line path is 7.5 miles, so I'm guessing right around 5 minutes, mostly because the runways are perpendicular.

Desert Nomad 05-02-2014 12:42 AM

I have flown from Mahe to Praslin Island in the Seychelles which is about 10 minutes.

Shagnasty 05-02-2014 01:03 AM

There is small plane short and then there is big plane short. The most big plane short route I know of in the U.S. is St. Thomas to St. Croix, USVI. You can take a large jet from the U.S. mainland, land in St. Thomas, let people out and then continue on to St. Croix. The distance is only a little over 40 miles and takes a few minutes. You never climb to altitude. The runways at the airports involved are aligned so that you just take off and immediately start your final approach into St. Croix. Total flying time is well under 10 minutes.

The shortest major route that I know of in the lower 48 is Denver to Colorado Springs or vice versa. They are about 80 miles apart and both have large airports. Total flying time is about 12 - 15 minutes on the larger planes that fly between them.

Little Nemo 05-02-2014 01:13 AM

The shortest flight I've ever flown was the twenty mile flight from Plattsburgh, NY to Burlington, Vt.

bengangmo 05-02-2014 05:58 AM

If you're in New Zealand

Picton to Wellington is 25 minutes
Nelson to Wellington is 35 minutes

Horatio Hellpop 05-02-2014 06:33 AM

South Korea, which is about the size of Indiana, has nine commercial airports and eleven civil airfields. Gimpo to Incheon (both serve Seoul) would be pretty short and might exist as a layover, but since both airports are on the same subway line, I doubt there's much demand. There are flights available between Daegu and Busan and it's a short flight.

Jackmannii 05-02-2014 07:28 AM

There is an AirTran flight between Columbus and Dayton, OH listed as 6 hours 25 minutes travel time, for $712 round trip.

Apparently it's by way of Atlanta.

You could probably bicycle there faster.

Lsura 05-02-2014 08:53 AM

Chattanooga, TN to Atlanta, GA - scheduled times are around 45 minutes. From experience, actual flight time is typically around 20 minutes - taxiing/deplaning in Atlanta take longer than flying.

Telemark 05-02-2014 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bengangmo (Post 17341548)
Nelson to Wellington is 35 minutes

That's the shortest commercial flight I've been on. We just reached cruising altitude before starting our descent. But they did serve a snack. :)

obfusciatrist 05-02-2014 11:46 AM

Looking at the information available from various tables at OpenFlights.org.

Taking it as a challenge to automate some stuff, I've looked at all the scheduled routes that start at airports with codes that begin with A or B. So far, have found nine routes that are 100km or less. No idea the nature of these scheduled routes, but might provide some candidates.

Alaska seems a good pool of them, but they have lots of towns wit no connecting roads.

Atmautluak, AK to Bethel, AK - 25.36km
Batsfjord, Norway to Berlevag, Norway - 38.44km
Belmopan, Belize to Belize City, Belize - 58.20km
Allakaket, AK to Bettles, AK - 62.32km
Alliance, NE to Scotts Bluff, NE - 68.55km
Kodiak, AK to Amook, AK - 84.94km
Atqasuk, AK to Barrow, AK - 89.76
Al Ain, UAE to Abu Dhabi - UAE - 99.30km
Aalborg, Denmark to Arhus, Denmark - 99.89km

bibliophage 05-02-2014 12:01 PM

Not a record, but there are daily direct flights between Skagway and Haines, Alaska, that are scheduled at 15 minutes. It is possible in theory to drive between those towns, which are 16 miles apart as the crow flies. Trouble is that it's an eight-hour trip by way of Whitehorse, YT. There's also a ferry.

lazybratsche 05-02-2014 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colophon (Post 17339222)
Here is the current timetable for Loganair's interisland flights.

As well as the two-minute Westray - Papa Westray flight, there are some other flights taking 10 minutes or less:

Stronsay to Sanday: 6 min
North Ronaldsay to Eday: 8-9 min.
North Ronaldsay to Papa Westray: 10 min.

I don't think you will beat Westray to Papa Westray though! Here is a Google Map showing how close the airstrips are: http://goo.gl/maps/cIVZy

What's the point of such a flight? Just from looking at the map, it looks like there might be 100 people on Papa Westray, maybe 1000 on Westray, with several ferry routes. The only rationale I can think of is maybe if the guy who owns most of Papa Westray lives on Westray, flies back and forth on a regular basis, and keeps the plane running for his tennants and neighbors.

Andy 05-02-2014 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lazybratsche (Post 17342617)
What's the point of such a flight? Just from looking at the map, it looks like there might be 100 people on Papa Westray, maybe 1000 on Westray, with several ferry routes......



Postal services for those islands?

Little Nemo 05-02-2014 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 17341590)
South Korea, which is about the size of Indiana, has nine commercial airports and eleven civil airfields. Gimpo to Incheon (both serve Seoul) would be pretty short and might exist as a layover, but since both airports are on the same subway line, I doubt there's much demand. There are flights available between Daegu and Busan and it's a short flight.

There are nineteen airports in Indiana.

And while it didn't make the list, Pam's Place Airport deserves mention.

obfusciatrist 05-02-2014 04:59 PM

Found this from Era Aviation:

Aniak, AK to Chuathbaluk, AK which is just short of 16km away, but has no roads connecting them.

Looks like Era offers a daily (except Sundays) flight at 12:10pm from Aniak, and the flight back to Aniak departs at 12:25pm. Flight time is 10 minutes and the trip costs $90 each way.

Lord Feldon 05-02-2014 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lazybratsche (Post 17342617)
What's the point of such a flight? Just from looking at the map, it looks like there might be 100 people on Papa Westray, maybe 1000 on Westray, with several ferry routes. The only rationale I can think of is maybe if the guy who owns most of Papa Westray lives on Westray, flies back and forth on a regular basis, and keeps the plane running for his tennants and neighbors.

It's so the airline doesn't have to do a separate flight to each island. AFAIK the main purpose is to go to and from Kirkwall (and from there on to wherever), not between the islands.

Mangosteen 05-02-2014 06:12 PM

I flew from Tahiti to the island of Moorea, 7 minutes.

sbunny8 05-02-2014 09:17 PM

The shortest I can find in the continental USA is from Baltimore (BWI) to Philadelphia (PHL) US Airways flight 4601, 37minutes.

Lord Feldon 05-02-2014 09:51 PM

Silver Airways (operating for United Express) has flights between Bradford, PA and Jamestown, NY. That's only about 40 miles. While you can book just that segment, the flight is operating as a stopping service to/from Cleveland. Bradford is losing its Essential Air Service subsidy, though, so it won't have commercial flights for much longer.

Shagnasty 05-03-2014 12:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sbunny8 (Post 17344076)
The shortest I can find in the continental USA is from Baltimore (BWI) to Philadelphia (PHL) US Airways flight 4601, 37minutes.

Are you talking about flight time or total time? Baltimore to Philadelphia is a short air route but Denver to Colorado Springs is even shorter by air. I have taken both of them by chance in the past year. The Denver to Colorado Springs route is only 14 - 20 minutes depending on the aircraft and the routing that you get for a total distance of about 80 miles. It isn't the shortest in the world but it is notable because it route that is routinely used between two large airports. The total time is about 40 minutes and most of that is spent taxiing.

Shagnasty 05-03-2014 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sbunny8 (Post 17344076)
The shortest I can find in the continental USA is from Baltimore (BWI) to Philadelphia (PHL) US Airways flight 4601, 37minutes.

Are you talking about flight time or total time? Baltimore to Philadelphia is a short air route but Denver to Colorado Springs is even shorter by air. I have taken both of them by chance in the past year. The Denver to Colorado Springs route is only 14 - 20 minutes depending on the aircraft and the routing that you get for a total distance of about 80 miles. It isn't the shortest in the world but it is notable because it route that is routinely used between two large airports. The total time is about 40 minutes and most of that is spent taxiing.


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