Air travel has undeniably brought the world closer. Countries separated by vast oceans and expansive forests are just a few hours away if you hop on an aircraft. A few of these routes will have you sharing meals with your co-passengers or indulging in a movie marathon, while others will barely leave you with enough time to stow your tray table.
We’ve put together a list of the shortest and longest flights around the world. It is important to note that this information is subject to change at any point, bearing in mind the rapidly evolving nature of aviation and international travel.
The world’s shortest flight routes
Westray to Papa Westray: 90 seconds
The shortest flight in the world connects two Scottish islands, Westray and Papa Westray. The 2.74-kilometre-long route, which has been in operation since September 1967, holds the Guinness World Record for the shortest scheduled flight and passengers aboard the Loganair aircraft will get to their destination in less than two minutes. If the wind conditions are favourable, this time might be reduced to only 47 seconds! The alternative to this quick flight is a 20-minute boat ride.
While in Westray, visit the Noltland Castle and Wheeling Steen gallery, or simply walk around the islands. Papa Westray is home to the popular Neolithic farmstead called Knap of Howar.
Caye Caulker to San Pedro: 5 minutes
Central America also has one of the shortest flights in the world. In Belize, a flight connects the city of San Pedro to the island of Caye Caulker, covering a distance of 22 kilometres in only 5 minutes. Another alternative is a 30-minute ferry ride between the two destinations.
San Pedro is famous as the party destination of Belize, while Caye Caulker is home to The Split, a beautiful narrow channel with a pristine beach, a must-visit attraction.
Karpathos to Kasos: 5 minutes
Visitors looking to travel between the Greek islands of Karpathos and Kasos have two options. The first is a 3.2-kilometre ferry ride, which takes about an hour. Alternatively, a flight completes the trip in just five minutes.
Karpathos is the perfect place for a relaxing beach vacation and has stunning hiking trails. Kasos has several caves and museums worth exploring, like the Ellinokamara Cave, Stilokamara and Traditional Kasiot House.
Sint Maarten to Anguilla: 10 minutes
Journeying from Sint Maarten, an autonomous island state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to Anguilla, a British overseas island territory, typically takes about 25 minutes by ferry. But a flight between the two covers the 19-kilometre distance in only 10 minutes. Enjoy stunning views while taking off and landing at Sint Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport during this quick flight operated by Anguilla Air Services.
Sint Marteen is known for delicious fusion cuisine, secluded beaches, and bustling clubs, while Anguilla is known for hidden coves and wildlife conservation sites.
Connemara to Inishmore: 10 minutes
Connemara in western Ireland and Inishmore, an island in the same region, are a mere 10 minutes apart via Aer Arann Islands aircraft. The ferry journey would take about an hour and typically departs from Rossaveal or Galway, covering 19.5 kilometres.
These regions in Ireland have breathtaking landscapes and offer visitors a glimpse into Irish culture. Connemara has stunning castles and a national park, including Kylemore Abbey, Aughnanure Castle, Clifden Castle and Connemara National Park. Inishmore’s top attractions include mediaeval ruins and stone forts.
Sint Maarten to Saba: 15 minutes
The island state of Sint Maarten makes a comeback to this list for the quick flights that take passengers from the region to the neighbouring Caribbean island of Saba. While a ferry ride takes 90 minutes (one way), a flight completes the 44-kilometre journey in just 15 minutes.
Saba, a tiny, largely unexplored Caribbean island, offers opportunities for scuba diving, hiking, and relaxation by the beach.
Sint Maarten to St. Barts: 15 minutes
Sint Maarten continues its pattern of quick connections to neighbouring islands, with Saint Barthelemy (St-Barth and St. Barths), an overseas collectivity of France, situated 28 kilometres away. A plane covers the distance in just 15 minutes, while the ferry ride takes 45 minutes.
St. Barts is deemed one of the most luxurious destinations in the Caribbean with its upscale hotels, glamorous private villas, high-end restaurants and white sand beaches.
Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar: 15 minutes
Flying from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport to Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport takes only 15 minutes. The 92-kilometre journey can also be covered by ferry, which takes around two hours.
Dar es Salaam, one of the biggest cities in Tanzania, combines modern metropolitan living with Tanzanian culture. Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania that is home to beautiful beaches like Paje and Nungwi.
Minami-Daito to Kita-Daito: 20 minutes
Japan’s Okinawa prefecture has over 160 islands and is also host to the shortest flight route in the country, spanning a mere 20 minutes. This distinction goes to the 19-kilometre route between the tiny Japanese islands of Minami-Daito and Kita-Daito. The same route takes an hour by ferry.
Minami-Daito and Kita-Daito, tiny islands formed by the raising of coral atolls, boast an untouched and serene environment rich with species unique to the islands.
Petersburg to Wrangell: 26 minutes
Known as the shortest commercial flight in the US, this 26-minute route in Alaska connects the boroughs of Wrangell and Petersburg. Alaska Airlines operates on this roughly 50-kilometre stretch, while a ferry takes more than three hours.
Petersburg is located on Frederick Sound near the summer feeding grounds of hundreds of humpback whales, making it one the best places in Alaska to spot this majestic mammal. Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska, influenced by the indigenous Tlingit culture, Russia, England and the US.
The world’s longest flights
Sydney to London: 20 hours
Qantas Airways is set to launch the world’s longest commercial flight by late 2025, connecting London with Sydney. This marathon journey will span over 20 hours and cover approximately 17,000 km, operating between Australia’s Sydney Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport. It is a part of the long-awaited Project Sunrise that has been in development since 2017.
Sydney, home to the iconic Sydney Opera House, is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Australia. London, one of the world’s oldest great cities, holds significant roles in the world of finance and politics.
Newark to Singapore: 19 hours, 10 minutes
Singapore Airlines runs a flight connecting Newark to Singapore, considered one of the airline’s longest. This 15,325-kilometre journey takes about 19 hours and 10 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport to Singapore’s Changi Airport.
Singapore, known as the Lion City, attracts visitors with its bustling hawker centres, stunning natural landscapes, ancient temples, and art galleries. Newark, a city in New Jersey, serves as a convenient gateway to New York City.
New York to Singapore: 18 hours, 50 minutes
Singapore Airlines operates another noteworthy long-haul from New York to Singapore. Before the Singapore to Newark route came into existence, this was said to be the airline’s longest flight. Covering a distance of 15,348 kilometres, this journey takes about 18 hours and 50 minutes, landing at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Singapore Airlines held the title for operating the longest flights in the world until Qantas’s Project Sunrise introduced an even longer route.
New York, famously known as ‘the City that Never Sleeps’, is an iconic global city renowned as a major financial, commercial and cultural centre, beckoning travellers with its cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Bengaluru and San Francisco: 17 hours, 45 minutes
Air India’s first flight on the Bengaluru-San Francisco route took off in January 2021. Covering a distance of 14,003 kilometres, this journey takes 17 hours and 45 minutes to complete. With new management at the helm of Air India, the flight experience for frequent fliers may undergo significant changes in the coming months.
Bengaluru offers pleasant weather throughout the year, verdant gardens, chic bars, and picture-perfect cafes. San Francisco, meanwhile, has a thriving art scene and diverse shopping districts, from vintage shoe shops to designer boutiques. Both cities are technological hubs in their respective countries.
Dallas to Melbourne: 17 hours 35 minutes
Qantas Airways connects the United States’ Dallas with Australia’s Melbourne in 17 hours and 35 minutes, making this one of the longest non-stop flights operated by the airlines, besides the anticipated Sydney to London route launching in 2025. The route spans back and forth across Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Melbourne Airport, covering approximately 14,471 kilometres.
Dallas, the third largest city in Texas, offers a captivating blend of Southern culture and modern innovation. Melbourne, famous for its architectural beauty and thriving art culture, ranks among the world’s most livable cities.
New York to Auckland: 17 hours, 35 minutes
New York makes a comeback on the list, this time with an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. This route, the fourth longest flight in the world, covers a distance of 14,231 kilometres in 17 hours and 35 minutes.
Auckland is known for its unparalleled natural beauty, serene beaches, and vibrant Kiwi culture.
Auckland to Dubai: 17 hours, 15 minutes
This route connects New Zealand to the UAE, covering 14,200 kilometres in the air non-stop in 17 hours and 15 minutes. Operating from Auckland Airport to Dubai International Airport, this is known to be the longest route operated by Emirates.
Dubai, renowned for its modern architecture, luxurious shopping experiences, and vibrant lifestyle, epitomises opulence.
Singapore to Los Angeles: 17 hours, 10 minutes
The first flight between Singapore and Los Angeles, USA, took off in November 2018. The route covers about 14,113 kilometres, and the Singapore Airlines flight completes the journey in approximately 17 hours and 10 minutes.
Synonymous with Hollywood, Los Angeles captivates with its sunny skies and sandy beaches, leaving the world star-struck.
New York to Manila: 17 hours
Manila in the Philippines is about 13,712 kilometres away from New York in the USA. A Philippine Airlines aircraft takes about 17 hours to cover this distance. This route has been in operation since October 2018.
Located on the island of Luzon, Manila is a cultural, economic and political centre of the Philippines. The city enthrals travellers with its seamless blend of Spanish colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.
San Francisco to Singapore: 16 hours, 20 minutes
Another long-distance flight by Singapore Airlines has been in operation since October 2016, covering a distance of 13,593 kilometres in approximately 16 hours and 20 minutes.
Hero and image credit: Shutterstock
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– How much duration qualifies as a short-route flight?
A short-haul flight can be as short as 90 seconds. The shortest recorded flight is 90 seconds long.
– What are the advantages of taking a long-route flight?
The advantage of taking a long-route flight is that you can cover greater distances without any layovers or stops, making it the fastest way to travel to different countries.
– Are long-route flights comfortable for elderly passengers?
The comfort of long-haul flights for elderly passengers depends on the airline and the specific seat they have chosen.
– Are short-haul flights considered safe?
Yes, short-haul flights are as safe as any other type of flight.
– Which airlines operate the longest and shortest flights?
Loganair Airline operates the shortest flight which is between Westray and Papa Westray (90 seconds). The longest flight is operated by Singapore Airlines between Newark and Singapore. The duration is over 19 hours.
– From which airports do the longest and shortest flights operate?
The longest flight connects Newark Liberty International Airport to Singapore’s Changi Airport. The shortest flight is between Westray Airport and Papa Westray Airport.
– Longest and shortest flights: the future
By 2025, Qantas Airways will be running the longest flight, connecting London and Sydney.