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Flight Time: 2 Minutes? 5 Incredibly Short Flights You Can Take

By Peter Vanden Bos
Read time: 4 minutes

Thanks to advances in aircraft technology, it’s now possible to board a plane and fly nearly 19 hours from one end of the globe to the other. But for all the adventure that jetting off to faraway destinations provides, many travelers dread the thought of being stuck in a metal tube for hours on end. If you count yourself among them, you might be interested to know that it’s possible to hop on a plane and arrive at a new destination in less than 10 minutes. Check out five of the world’s shortest commercial flights. 

5. Karpathos to Kasos, Greece

Colorful homes built on steep mountainside on the Greek islands
Credit: Freeartist/ iStock via Getty Images 

Karpathos and Kasos are both part of Greece’s Dodecanese Islands, situated in the southeastern Aegean Sea between the larger islands of Rhodes and Crete. With craggy mountains towering over turquoise waters and postcard-perfect villages that are free of the hordes of tourists you’ll find on other Greek isles, these islands are a dream for travelers looking for an off-the-radar getaway

To journey between Karpathos and Kasos, you can take an hour-and-a-half ferry ride across the Aegean Sea. But that would take far more effort than boarding Olympic Air’s regularly scheduled flight between the two islands. Covering a distance of just 13 miles, the flight on an ATR 72 turboprop aircraft is blocked at just 20 minutes from pushback to gate arrival; however, the time in the air typically takes only around 10 minutes. It operates up to six times a week during peak summer season.

4. St. Maarten to Anguilla 

Colorful buildings on pier overlooking turquoise waters in St. Maarten
Credit: NANCY PAUWELS/ iStock via Getty Images 

Aviation lovers will probably already be familiar with the island of St. Maarten, a dual French-Dutch territory in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. That’s because of Maho Beach, a stretch of sand that sits right at the end of the runway of the island’s main airport, Princess Juliana International Airport. Beachgoers here will find themselves within a stone’s throw of massive jets coming in to land at the airport, a thrilling juxtaposition of modern technology and the Caribbean’s famously beautiful beaches.

St. Maarten serves as a regional hub for other nearby islands, many of which are located only a dozen or so miles away. Among the closest are Saba, St. Barth’s, and Anguilla — the latter of which can be reached on a turboprop plane in around seven to 10 minutes. After making the 12-mile hop, visitors can explore one of the Caribbean’s most underrated gems, with miles of sugar-sand beaches and a laid-back atmosphere that makes it easy to truly unplug. 

3. Connemara to Inisheer, Ireland

Castle beside lake and lush mountainside in Ireland
Credit: Dawid K Photography/ Shutterstock 

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands off the coast of Galway in western Ireland. With only a handful of residents, rugged windswept landscapes, and fascinating ruins dating back to the Iron Age, these islands make for a popular day trip from Galway. Many tourists choose to board the ferry, which takes between 45 and 90 minutes each way depending on the island they choose to visit — but travelers in a hurry can opt for one of the world’s shortest commercial flights, from Connemara Regional Airport on the mainland to Inisheer island. 

The flights on Aer Arann are scheduled year-round (dependent on weather) and take around six to 10 minutes, covering a distance of just 11 miles. It operates on a plane that seats just eight passengers, so small that each passenger has to be weighed before the flight to ensure that the weight is distributed equally. 

2. Minami-Daito to Kita-Daito, Japan

Turquoise bay in Okinawa, Japan, seen from above
Credit: SeanPavonePhoto/ iStock via Getty Images 

Japan’s shortest commercial flight carries passengers between the island villages of Minami-Daito and Kita-Daito, which are located only 7.5 miles apart. The islands are part of Japan’s subtropical Okinawa Prefecture, located nearly 400 miles south of the rest of the country, closer to Taiwan. One of the main tourist attractions here are the hundreds of caves that dot the islands, the largest of which is Hoshino Cave.

Ryukyu Air Commuter (part of the Japan Airlines group) has a scheduled flight between the two islands that takes only about three minutes. Sadly, the route is scheduled to be discontinued in summer 2024, and there’s no word yet if it will return. In the meantime, you can find other quick hops in Japan from Kikaijima to Amamioshima (16 miles) and Okinoerabu to Tokunoshima (30 miles).

1. Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland

Lighthouse on rocky cliffs of the Orkney Islands in Scotland
Credit: FrancisXT/ iStock via Getty Images 

Topping the list of the world’s shortest commercial flights is a 1.7-mile hop between two of the Orkney Islands — a group of 70 islands and islets scattered off the northeastern coast of mainland Scotland. Humans have lived on the islands since prehistoric times, but today only about 20 of the islands are inhabited. Mainland is the most populous, home to about 17,000 people. 

Just how short is this flight? The Loganair service between Westray and Papa Westray typically takes less than two minutes from takeoff to touchdown — or as little as 53 seconds when winds are favorable. Passengers squeeze into a plane that has room for just eight passengers, with the pilot sitting in an open cockpit just inches away. The flight operates two to three times today, providing a crucial connection to the 80 people who call the remote island of Papa Westray home.

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