Flying On The World’s Shortest Airbus A320 Flight

Back in September 2019 whilst traveling around Indonesia I had the opportunity to fly on one of the world’s shortest Airbus A320 flights from Bali to Lombok. The flight was operated by Air Asia with the flight number QZ430 and took just 21 minutes.

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An Air Asia A320 (File photo). Photo: Kentaro IEMOTO via Flickr

The route

The distance between Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali) and Lombok International Airport Praya is just 76 miles.

While the flight only takes 15-25 minutes on average, taking a boat the same distance can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. So when you factor in waiting at the airport either end, it still works out quicker taking a plane.

*Note: this is one of the world’s shortest A320 flights. There are a few others that fly very similar distances.

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Airlines obviously know it’s quicker to fly, so there is a lot of competition on this super short route. In total four airlines operate over 70+ flights a week in either direction.

  • Indonesia Air Asia (Operated by Airbus A320 Aircraft)
  • Lion Air (Operated by Boeing 737 Aircraft)
  • Garuda Indonesia (Operated by ATR 72 & Boeing 737 Aircraft)
  • Wings Abadi Airlines (Owned by Lion Air) (Operated by ATR 72 Aircraft)
Wings Air ATR ATR 72 500 ATR 72 212A Spijkers 1
A Wings Abadi AirlinesAir ATR 72. Photo: Paul Spijkers via Wikimedia

Booking the flight

Out of the four airlines who fly the route, I opted for Air Asia. At the time of booking, they were my preferred choice having flown extensively in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong with the carrier and they were also the cheapest.

Round trip prices between Bali & Lombok with Air Asia start from as little as $28 USD!

Note: If you want to select seats and add baggage there will be additional fees.

In the end, I paid $80 USD return as I booked a totally flexible ticket as I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to spend in Bali vs Lombok. The $80 USD ticket price included:

  • 25kg baggage
  • Free seat selection (I sat in row 1)
  • Meal service + a drink (more on this later)
  • Priority check-in

The experience on the ground:

I read lots of negative things about Bali Ngurah Rai‘s domestic terminal before visiting. Overall I was pleasantly surprised.

The check-in/bag drop was painless and there were no ques. Though, that was because we had a ‘premium flex ticket’ with priority check-in. Even without this, I don’t think you would be waiting for more than five minutes.

Security took all of two minutes, and once through there was an array of restaurants and shops and it has a similar feeling to the international terminal but on a much smaller scale. At the terminal, you certainly won’t struggle to get a seat to relax or go hungry.

Onboard

Boarding was easy and took less than 10 minutes. The flight was full.

The legroom on row 1 was great! I had plenty of room to stretch out (for all of 20 minutes) and there was a handy pocket in front of me big enough to store a water bottle.

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Air Asia A320 Legroom. Row 1. Photo: Simple Flying
  • After a short taxi and quick take off, the flight hit its cruising altitude of 7075ft within 4 minutes!
  • After a total of 10 minutes in the air, we began our descent into Lombok.
  • 11 minutes later we had landed in Lombok, and we’re at the gate.
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Air Asia QZ430 Route. Photo: Flight Radar 24

The food

A lot of people on our flight seemed to have booked a premium flex ticket. This meant that they were entitled to a main meal and drink (which could be pre-selected online). I opted for a Thai basil chicken and it was heated and given me to whilst boarding in a takeaway bag.

Overall the service and the crew on board were great. No qualms; I don’t think you can get much wrong on a 20-minute flight. There was literally no time to eat on the flight, so I ended up eating the plane food once arriving in Lombok!

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Overall thoughts

This quick flight was a great way to get to Lombok quickly and saved a rough 2-5 hour sea crossing (I hate boats). It was funny how there was no time for food, I’ve never had a meal given to me before even taking off.

Have you flown on this route? What was your experience?

Read Next: Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10 Business Review – Singapore To Bali

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Dennis

Fascinating! Thanks for the review.

cahpek

PASSENGER: “Can I please have some salt for my meal?”
STEWARDESS: “Sorry, we have landed. Get some from the cafe in the airport terminal!”

Old Middle East traveller

Until the new airport was built outside Dhahran and the Air Force base was used for commercial flights, Gulf Air flew 320s from Bahrain. The flight time could be around 10 mins depending on the take off direction. Apparently you could see the plane taking off from the destination control tower. There was no service but on J & F class you got a pre take off drink. The plane reached about 6000 ft. The flight was popular for Asian expats as then they did not need to use the causeway and avoided paying visa fees in Bahrain. Not sure… Read more »

sam

I remember that route very well having flown on it on several occasions. Once the flight from Dhahran was late and I missed my connection onto Concorde from Bahrain to London! I checked my travel records and find that I flew the route on 9 occasions. Actually, Saudia flew the route using 737s and Gulf Air used both 737s and F27s. (The first flight of A320s wasn’t until February 1987 and Gulf Air didn’t have any in their fleet until much later). The causeway opened in 1986 but the fights continued for some years. The last one I took was… Read more »

Here2go

It used to be remarked that CBR-SYD was the shortest flight with a meal. Not so

Hein Vandenbergh

Certainly on Virgin Australia, in peak times for Sydney airport, those ATRs can take well over an hour on that route. QFs -400s are minimally faster.

Richard

Air Malta also has or had short flights. They operated from Malta to Comiso (Sicily) and the inbound flight to Malta was always the shortest (not the outbound because aircraft had to fly a circle of 8 over airport before landing). I flew on it once. Unfortunately I cannot remember if the return flight was 28 or 23 (I think 23) minutes but it was SHORT. I had seen a flight on Flightradar 24 once from Comiso and it lasted just 23 minutes. I also flew back from Catania last week and from takeoff power set to runway deceleration in… Read more »

Hein Vandenbergh

No wonder security took only a couple of minutes: few airlines would allow the bringing on board of a large water bottle. It could have contained anything, and it is way beyond the legally allowed volume. Yet another case of slack Indonesian attitudes (see report into the Lion Air MWA disaster).

Hein Vandenbergh

That should of course read “MAX disaster”.

Roberto Soriano

Sorry but the shortest A320 flight is Bahrain to Damman Saudi Arabia takes 12 min I manged to fly it in 10min 33 seconds I was a Captain there.

Steve G

I’ve flown shorter route exactly 9 times… It used to be scheduled flight for a long time, but nowadays it flies ocasionaly. Bulgaria Air has flights from Sofia (the capital) to Varna and Burgas (both seaside cities). The route to Varna is year-roud while the one to Burgas is summer seasonal. Sometimes they have flights SOF-VAR-BOJ or SOF-BOJ-VAR (or vice versa) and in this case they sell the short leg between Varna and Burgas. I’ve tried it both as just stopover for 20min and as a separated leg. The air distace is just 78km. They serve the route with A320,… Read more »

Trent

Fun review! First question: How was the food?

Also, I think many airlines could go wrong on a 20 minute flight.

Bimo

Why can’t ultra-short haul flights like this one server the meals prior to take off/after boarding like what Business passengers did on the Hainan Airlines Edinbrugh route using the A350

Cameron Lindsay

I flew this route years ago on Merpati using one the Chinese prop planes they bought. Unfortunately those planes had a habit of falling out of the sky.

jframpto

That’s a little like Penang to Langkawi on a Firefly ATR 72. Very, very cheap and done to avoid a long rough sea journey!