Photo: Tom Scott/YouTube

Watch What It's Like to Take the World's Shortest Commercial Flight

News Airports + Flying
by Noelle Alejandra Salmi Aug 31, 2021

Famous Youtuber Tom Scott took the shortest commercial flight in the world on Monday, and it is very short. Like 80 seconds short.

Scott flew on Logan Air, which services the Orkney Islands off northern Scotland. He lifted off the ground from the airport on Papa Westray Island, which has 90 residents, to the airport on Westray island, home to about 200 residents, and just one mile away. All in less than a minute and a half.

The flight between Papa Westray and Westray on a nine-passenger propeller plane costs only £18 ($25). Considering the cost of air travel, you have to wonder if this isn’t also the world’s cheapest commercial flight?

While on the world’s shortest commercial flight, Scott didn’t want to disturb his fellow passengers as he recorded himself talking through his mask, so he stuck to filming and had the very brief flight narrated by Sam Denby of Westover Productions. You can watch it here.

As Denby explains, the Orkney Archipelago is so sparsely populated that the name of the largest island, where most of the 22,000 Orkney residents live, is actually called “Mainland” — even though it’s an island. Papa Westray is one of the northernmost Orkney islands, far from Mainland.

Building bridges to connect these isles would be expensive. While ferries exist, Denby says, they are slow and impractical, so Logan Air is subsidized by the UK government as part of its “public services obligations.” So the $25 only pays for a small portion of Logan Air’s operating fees.

Moreover, the plane hits three islands in its “milk run” route, operating more like a bus. Passengers hoping to get from Papa Westray to Kirkwall on Mainland will first have to stop in Westray. Then again, when Scott was on the flight, the stop in Westray — where one passenger disembarked — took all of two minutes.

While $25 sounds like a lot for a bus, it sure seems like an efficient one.

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