By Cynthia Drescher. Photos: Getty.
You might ask yourself: Why would anyone fly 12.5 miles? Isn't that like a quick jet trip to the grocery store? But this is the world we live in: When it launches October 31, a new European flight from St. Gallen, Switzerland to Friedrichshafen, Germany will set records for both shortest jet flight and shortest international flight, with tickets costing $45 each way. The route avoids the traffic and mind-boggling hassle of driving from St. Gallen, around Lake Constance and over the Austrian border just to get to Friedrichshafen, on Germany's southern edge and the other side of the lake.
Austrian airline People's Viennaline has a larger purpose for the tiny trip, however; it's the first leg of a flight that continues north to Cologne, Germany. Coincidentally, the stopover marks another moment in aviation history for tiny Friedrichshafen. The city is also home to the Zeppelin factory, which produced the newest Goodyear Blimp, and once led early European aircraft manufacturing as the headquarters of Dornier, now a part of Airbus. In the summer, the area attracts bicyclists to one of the most popular bike routes on the continent. The Lake Constance bike path traces the shores of the lake and crosses into the countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, taking 31 miles to complete. That's longer than the flight!
As for modern history, the People's Viennaline flight now topples Ethiopian Airlines, which held the records with its 17-mile hop with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazzaville, Congo. Including takeoff and landing, that entire trip maxes out at 20 minutes. As for the shortest flight in the world overall, that award goes to a 47-second domestic route flown by Loganair between Westray and Papa Westray in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The world also saw a new longest flight this year, with the March debut of a 17.25-hour nonstop on Emirates from Auckland, New Zealand, to Dubai.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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