Up, Up and Away. For Eight Minutes


Until last month, the world’s shortest international flight took 10 minutes. Now that time has been cut to just eight minutes.

The record for the ‘world’s shortest international flight’ has just been lifted by People’s Viennaline, an Austrian airline that has announced plans to link St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport in Switzerland with Friedrichshafen Airport in Germany.

As the crow flies, the total journey covers just thirteen miles, but doing it by car currently take two hours. Why? Because the two cities are separated by Lake Constance and cars must take a fairly lengthy journey that skirts the lake.

The airline hopes that passengers will find the £34 a price worth paying to save them from making that commute. (Naturally, they make no mention of the time that needs to be spent getting to and from the airports or clearing security).

We were intrigued by the airline’s optimism and by its, well, rather limited business plan. As well as this new route, it only lists four destinations on its route map! Clearly, the senior management at Etihad and Emirates can sleep easily at night knowing their plans for world aviation domination are not under any kind of threat.

Where the Middle Eastern airlines compete for offering the world’s longest non-stop flights – Emirates currently holds the title by operating a marathon 8,825-mile, 17-hour slog from Auckland to Dubai – Austrian airlines compete for the shortest.

FlyNiki, based in Vienna, had previously claimed the world’s shortest international service, a 30-mile trip from the city to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. That journey took 10 minutes by air, but has been now been discontinued. Presumably the amount of duty-free goods sold on board fell short of expectations?

The British sense of humour being what it is, we’re intrigued to know what sort of in-flight entertainment the airline will be offering; we’re assuming a very, very short film? And whether the crew will be able to complete their safety demonstration before the plane lands again? The good news is that they needn’t carry medicine on-board for jet lag!

Loganair’s pilots flying the world’s shortest domestic flight need to clock up a fair number of journeys just to keep their flying hours up; the distance flown on the famously succinct route between Westray and Papa Westray in Orkney stands at slightly more than a mile and can be travelled in as little as 47 seconds.

For long haul experience, they could always transfer to Canada, where the  flight from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport to Niagara District Airport takes a relatively ardous 12 minutes.

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