Forget in-flight movies, magazines and meals to help pass time in the air. There simply isn’t time for any of these options on the world’s shortest scheduled flight. The two minute crossing within Scotland’s Orkney islands is as close as anyone will get to true “island-hopping.”
To put the journey into perspective, the flight covers a distance less than that of the main runway at Edinburgh Airport.
If you want to try the experience, just don’t bring too many friends. The twin-engine Loganair plane that connects the islands of Westray (WRY) and Papa Westray (PPW) in Scotland seats just eight passengers.
How to do it
You will need to travel to Kirkwall (KOI), the capital city of the Orkney Islands, served only by Loganair (a subsidiary of FlyBe) from a dozen other Scottish towns and cities.
The regular year-round route is run by Loganair on behalf of Orkney Islands Council for the people who live on the islands, but spare seats are sold on the day of departure, says Jackie Delaney, station manager at Kirkwall Airport.
Special sightseeing trips for tourists are also offered every Tuesday and Thursday in June, July and August. From Kirkwall on the mainland, the aircraft whisks you to Papa Westray where it makes a pit stop. Then comes the record-breaking flight to Westray before the aircraft returns to Kirkwall. The full round-trip experience takes 45 minutes.
“Every flight this year has been full,” Delaney told Terminal U.
Experiencing this world record flight won’t cost you a fortune either, given that you will have already made your way to Kirkwall. The roundtrip flight costs £39 and includes a commemorative certificate and a miniature bottle of whisky from Highland Park, the world’s northernmost distillery.
Getting off the aircraft to spend time in Westray and Papa Westray is highly recommended. The islands offer ruins, lighthouses and spectacular, wild scenery of the kind only found in this part of the world.
Kirkwall should not be passed by too quickly either. It is a lovely little town of 8,500 people, with a surprisingly good restaurant scene. The Orkney Islands are also known for sheep, fish, wind, sea birds and whisky.
Flights must be booked via email or phone.