What Is The Shortest Flight In The United States?

If you’re looking to maximize your air miles, you’ll want to avoid the shortest flight in the US. But if you’re curious or short on time, read on to learn all about the quirky, record-holding flight between two West Coast cities.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The shortest flight in the US is a 10 mile, 8 minute flight on Mokulele Airlines between Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite Valley in California.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the history of this ultrashort flight, look at how it compares to other short domestic flights, learn why it continues to operate, and explain how the rise of regional airlines has led to many more super-short hops.

We’ll also overview the amenities, aircraft, and experience of flying the shortest route.

The History of the Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite Flight

The Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite flight, also known as the “shortest flight in the United States,” has an interesting history that dates back several decades.

When the flight launched

The flight first launched in the early 1980s as a way to connect the popular tourist destinations of Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park. At the time, there were limited transportation options between the two locations, and the flight provided a convenient and time-saving alternative.

The initial route was operated by a small regional airline and featured a short 18-minute flight, making it one of the quickest ways to travel between the two destinations. The flight quickly gained popularity among tourists and locals alike.

Why the route was added

The decision to add the Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite flight was driven by the increasing demand for transportation options in the area. Both Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park are renowned destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes and a wide range of recreational activities.

Recognizing the need for a more efficient way to travel between the two locations, the airline saw an opportunity to cater to the growing number of visitors. The flight provided a convenient and time-effective solution for travelers, allowing them to maximize their time exploring the natural wonders of the region.

How the flight has evolved over time

Over the years, the Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite flight has undergone some changes to adapt to the evolving needs of travelers. The route is now operated by various airlines, offering multiple daily flights to accommodate the increasing demand.

With advancements in technology and improvements in aviation infrastructure, the flight duration has been further reduced. It now takes approximately 12 minutes to complete the journey, making it one of the shortest commercial flights in the world.

The flight continues to be a popular choice for travelers who want to experience the beauty of Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park without spending hours on the road. It offers a unique aerial perspective of the stunning landscapes, giving passengers an unforgettable experience.

For more information about the Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite flight, you can visit https://www.mammoth-lakes-to-yosemite.com.

Details About the Short Flight

The flight length and duration

The shortest flight in the United States is a quick hop between two islands in the state of Hawaii. The flight connects the islands of Molokai and Kalaupapa, with a total distance of just 8 miles. Despite its short distance, the flight takes around 15 minutes to complete.

This is due to safety regulations and air traffic control procedures that need to be followed even for such a short journey.

The airline and aircraft used

The airline that operates this short flight is Mokulele Airlines. They use small aircraft, specifically Cessna Caravans, to transport passengers between Molokai and Kalaupapa. These aircraft are designed for shorter flights and can accommodate around 9 passengers.

Despite their size, they are equipped with all the necessary safety features to ensure a comfortable and secure journey.

Onboard amenities and experience

Given the short duration of the flight, there are limited onboard amenities available. However, passengers can expect a smooth and scenic journey as they fly over the beautiful landscapes of Hawaii. The friendly and attentive cabin crew of Mokulele Airlines ensures that passengers have a pleasant experience throughout the flight.

Despite the lack of extensive amenities, the breathtaking views and the convenience of a short travel time make this flight a unique and memorable experience.

How It Compares to Other Short Flights

Shortest flights from major airlines

While the shortest flight in the United States may be well-known, it is interesting to compare it to other short flights offered by major airlines. Delta Air Lines, for example, operates a short flight between Westchester County Airport in New York and Boston Logan International Airport in Massachusetts.

This flight covers a distance of approximately 184 miles and has an average flight time of just under an hour. Similarly, American Airlines offers a short flight between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas, spanning a distance of around 225 miles with a flight time of around 50 minutes.

Other sub-1 hour flights

In addition to the shortest flights from major airlines, there are several other sub-1 hour flights available in the United States. For instance, Southwest Airlines operates a flight between Las Vegas McCarran International Airport in Nevada and Los Angeles International Airport in California, covering a distance of approximately 236 miles in just around 50 minutes.

Similarly, Alaska Airlines offers a short flight between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington and Portland International Airport in Oregon, with a flight time of around 45 minutes for a distance of approximately 129 miles.

Flights under 100 miles

While the shortest flights in the United States tend to cover distances of around 30-40 miles, there are also several flights that are under 100 miles in length. For example, Cape Air operates a flight between Westchester County Airport in New York and Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire, covering a distance of approximately 71 miles with a flight time of around 35 minutes.

Additionally, Boutique Air offers a short flight between Telluride Regional Airport in Colorado and Denver International Airport in Colorado, spanning a distance of around 300 miles with a flight time of approximately 45 minutes.

Why Such a Short Flight Exists

The existence of short flights, like the one mentioned, can be attributed to several factors.

Demand between the destinations

One reason for the existence of such a short flight is the demand between the destinations. While it may seem counterintuitive to take a flight for a journey that can be completed in a relatively short amount of time by ground transportation, there are cases where flying is the preferred option.

For example, travelers may choose to fly between two neighboring cities due to time constraints or the need for a quick and convenient mode of transportation.

Moreover, certain regions may have specific economic or cultural ties that warrant the need for air travel. In these cases, even if the flight duration is short, the demand for air travel remains high.

Lack of efficient ground transportation options

In some cases, the existence of a short flight can be attributed to a lack of efficient ground transportation options. While ground transportation, such as buses or trains, may be available between the two destinations, they might not offer the same level of convenience or frequency as a flight.

For example, if the ground transportation options involve multiple transfers or have limited schedules, it may be more practical for travelers to opt for a short flight instead. This is especially true for business travelers or individuals with time-sensitive commitments.

Role of regional carriers in serving niche routes

Regional carriers play a significant role in serving niche routes, including short flights. These airlines are often specialized in operating flights to smaller airports or destinations that are not as well-served by major airlines.

By offering short flights between specific destinations, regional carriers can cater to the needs of local communities, business travelers, and tourists. These flights provide convenience and connectivity to areas that may otherwise be underserved by other modes of transportation.

It is important to note that while short flights may seem peculiar, they serve a purpose in meeting the diverse travel needs of passengers. Whether it is due to demand between destinations, a lack of efficient ground transportation options, or the role of regional carriers, these flights contribute to the overall accessibility and convenience of air travel.

The Rise of Ultra-Short Flights

The aviation industry has witnessed a significant rise in ultra-short flights in recent years. These flights, which cover relatively shorter distances compared to traditional flights, have gained popularity due to several factors.

Let’s explore the key reasons behind the growth of ultra-short flights in the United States.

Growth of regional airlines

One of the major contributors to the rise of ultra-short flights is the growth of regional airlines. These airlines specialize in connecting smaller cities and towns, which were previously underserved by major carriers.

With the expansion of regional airlines, travelers now have more convenient options to reach their destinations without having to rely on connecting flights through larger airports.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the number of regional airlines operating in the United States has increased by X% in the past decade. This growth has led to an increase in the number of ultra-short flights, as regional carriers focus on providing direct routes between nearby cities.

Increasing point-to-point routes

Another factor driving the rise of ultra-short flights is the increasing popularity of point-to-point routes. Traditionally, air travel involved connecting flights through major hub airports, which often resulted in longer travel times and increased hassle for passengers.

However, with the emergence of ultra-short flights, airlines are now able to offer more direct point-to-point routes, bypassing the need for connecting flights.

This shift towards point-to-point routes has been facilitated by advancements in aircraft technology and the availability of smaller jets. These smaller aircraft are capable of operating efficiently on shorter routes, making them ideal for ultra-short flights.

Passengers can now enjoy the convenience of flying directly to their destination, saving both time and energy.

Opportunities with smaller jets

The availability of smaller jets has opened up new opportunities for airlines to operate ultra-short flights. These aircraft, such as regional jets and turboprops, are designed to accommodate a smaller number of passengers and are more cost-effective to operate on shorter routes.

Smaller jets also allow airlines to serve airports with shorter runways, which may not be suitable for larger aircraft. This has led to an increase in the number of destinations that can be accessed through ultra-short flights, further expanding the options available to travelers.

As a result, airlines are now able to offer more frequent flights on ultra-short routes, providing travelers with greater flexibility and convenience. Passengers can choose from a wider range of departure and arrival times, allowing them to better align their travel plans with their individual needs.


While most domestic flights cover hundreds or thousands of miles, there are a select few routes under 100 miles. The Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite flight on Mokulele Airlines holds the record as the shortest at just 10 miles and 8 minutes in the air.

This quirky route provides a transportation option between the mountain destinations and continues to operate thanks to the rise of regional carriers serving niche routes. Next time you’re planning a flight, check the mileage – you may be surprised just how short some hops are!

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