The World’s Shortest Airline Routes In 2019

Six months ago, Singapore Airlines made headlines when they launched their New York to Singapore route… the longest in the world. Whilst a marvelous technical achievement, many commented that it’s not that hard to find two airports far away enough to qualify and make a profit. Flying between two close airports and making a profit (and beating alternative forms of transport)… now that’s where the real challenge lies!

Shortest flight
What’s the world’s shortest flight in 2019? Photo: Pexels

What are the shortest routes in the world in 2019? Let’s explore.

Westray to Papa Westray

shortest flights
Westray to Papa Westray, the world’s shortest flight. Photo: Google Maps

Westray to Papa Westray is still one of the world’s shortest flights at 2.75 km between the two islands. It takes the aircraft approx one minute and 30 seconds to jump across to the other island to pick up passengers and post. Alternatively, there is a one hour car and ferry ride. The flight also comes in as one of the cheapest, at $22 USD each way.

United Airlines wine country

According to the UK Telegraph, United Airlines also wants to go in the running for the shortest route in the world. The 17 minute, 100 km flight from San Francisco to Santa Rosa (a popular wine country destination) might just qualify.

Santa Rosa has regular United Airlines flights. Image: Google MapsThe route flies three times a week and whisks city passengers away to a romantic week of wine tasting and adventure (or so we like to imagine!).

Source: Wikimedia
United Embraer EMB-145XR. Photo: Wikipedia

World’s shortest international flight

The world’s shortest international flight (not domestic) can actually be found in Europe. St. Gallen-Altenrhein in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen in Germany (say that three times fast) was a route that served across a big long lake in Europe. The reason it was not served by a ferry was because of money.

shortest routes
The route flew across a lake, technically separating two European countries. Photo: Google Maps

The small French enclave holds a casino and access to a bank that doesn’t ask questions. unfortunately, the service was axed due to lack of demand.

Anguilla to St. Maarten

These two cozy Caribbean neighbors not only share lovely beaches and friendly people, but also a short route connecting them across the sea.

Anguilla – St. Maarten
Anguilla to St. Maarten. St. Maarten is actually split into two colonies and shares the same airport. Image: Google Maps

The route is only 19km and flies three times a day.

North America’s shortest flight

Shortest flights
The short trip across the bay to Niagara Falls. Image: Google Maps

North America’s shortest flight isn’t actually the United Airlines flight above, but a service that flights from Toronto City Airport (one of the best airports in the world according to this review) to Niagara Falls. This flight only takes 10 minutes and gives passengers an excellent view of the incredible natural wonder as they come into land.

Shortest USA domestic flight

The shortest commercial flight that has ever run in the USA was a Boeing 727 service between Fort Lauderdale to Miami, only 21 miles, on Eastern Airlines.

Others say that United once did offer San Francisco to Oakland, but likely that was only a repositioning service.

What do you think? Can you think of a shorter flight that you would like to fly on?

9 comments
  1. the flight from Friedrichshafen to Altenrhein (shortest international flight) is no longer operational…
    you may wish to consider Mont Joli (CYYY) – Baie Comeau (CYBC) across the St. Lawrence stream 58 km

  2. The shortest intercontinental flight is operated by Royal Air Maroc Express ATR 72-600 a 20min. flight between Gibraltar & Tangier

  3. The old Swissair/Crossair operated the Zurich-Basel route with MD83, flight time about 12 minutes, 87km distance….

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