back to article World's shortest international flight: now just 21km in 7 minutes

Austrian airline People's Viennaline this week started flying the world's shortest international flight: a 21km hop from the Swiss town of St. Gallen to the German town of Friedrichshafen. The two towns are separated by Lake Constance and 66.1km of roads that Google tells us will take just 54 minutes to traverse. Along the …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge


    Factor in:

    - getting to the airport

    - checking in

    - security

    - boarding

    - taxiing

    - flight time

    - taxiing

    - deplaning

    - baggage collection

    - getting out of the airport

    Driving 66.1km seems like a doddle.

    1. Oengus

      Re: 66.1kms

      You forgot the "mandatory" check-in 2 hours before your flight for international flights.

      That 54 minute drive is looking better all the time (and cheaper I'll bet).

      1. Hypnotist

        Re: 66.1kms

        Check-In am Flughafen Altenrhein:

        Wir bitten Sie, mindestens 30 Minuten vor Abflug in Altenrhein einzuchecken

        Check-In am Flughafen Friedrichshafen:

        Wir bitten Sie, spätestens 60 Minuten vor Abflug in Friedrichshafen einzuchecken

        I don't think I've ever arrived for an international European flight two hours before, except where I wanted to abuse the lounge.

      2. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: 66.1kms

        Yes, in Australia: 2 hours prior for international and 45 minutes prior for domestic flights.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: 66.1kms

        You can do it by train & ferry in 1h15 minutes (city centre to city centre). Cost around €20. Rather longer trip and more expensive if you have to hop around the edge of the lake.

    2. illiad

      Re: 66.1kms

      Driving??? avoiding idiots on the road, awful traffic, etc, etc... when you could be relaxing in a comfortable seat... :)

      1. Piloti

        Re: 66.1kms

        You've never been to / seen Lake Constance, or Bodensee as it is called locally.

        You are missing so much my fictional Greek friend.


      2. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: 66.1kms

        when you could be relaxing in a comfortable seat

        Air-planes have comfortable seats? When did that happen?

    3. Jedit Silver badge

      "Driving 66.1km seems like a doddle."

      Unless you don't drive. I suspect the main appeal of this flight is to non-drivers, because it's cheaper than a taxi.

      Also baggage collection probably isn't an issue for this flight. Most people taking it are probably going to business meetings and so will only have carry-on.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: 66.1kms


      1. Getting to the city center and trying to find where to park for a business meeting.

      2. Fighting rush hour traffic to hit same meeting.

      It is the same as going to London. Driving is a theoretical possibility. Until you consider the availability of parking in the area.

  2. ssharwood

    Remember that airports now make more money from ground activities than from airlines. Rents are high. Ads are pricey. And don't get me started on parking charges

  3. Piloti

    I've done a shorter international flight.......

    .... but only once.

    Kinshasa to Brazzaville. Seven miles.

    My company flew me from Jo'burg to Brazzaville but wanted me to stop over in Kinshasa, They didn't really understand the geography. Kinshasa and Brazzaville look at each other across the river. The staff in the Kinshasa office thought I was odd when I said I was then flying on to Brazzaville.

    After that single trip, I made the journey a few more time, but using the more exciting and far more frequent river boat crossings.

    I will never forget the first time I saw my first Congo croc'.

    Some of the best times of my working life were in the two Congos'.


    1. Doogie Howser MD
      Thumb Up

      Re: I've done a shorter international flight.......

      Ah, Brazzaville. Conjures up mental images of a theme park dedicated to women with large chesticles - a la

      I'd be all over that.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wanna bet?

    You STILL arent allowed to take liquids on board.

    1. Piloti

      Re: Wanna bet?

      Liquids ARE allowed on board, as long as they are purchased after security.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wanna bet?

        Nope, not quite; they have to be purchased from what you said, OR a EU approved airline.

        So if you fly in on say KLM, having bought duty free on the plane, you can carry it on to your next flight; if however you were like me, and flew in the day the rules changed, on a KLM affiliate flight (China Southern), and bought your booze on the flight, they refuse not only to allow you on board with your duty free, but refuse to put it in the hold for you either.

        I got a little antsy, and refused to board without my rather expensive wine; of course they wouldnt back down either, even though it took longer to get my luggage off than it would to have just put the damned stuff in the hold!!

        KLM had to put me up for the night, and put me on the next flight (with my booze in the hold).

  5. The Great Alfonso

    Pressurisation Cycles

    I think it's pressurisation cycles that count for airframe fatigue - which normally corresponds to the number of takeoffs and landings. But if the flight's only going to 1000m, is there a get-out on the grounds that there doesn't have to be a pressure differential?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Pressurisation Cycles

      It's also stop-start cycles on the engines, but I can imagine that they don't bother shutting them down for this drop.

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Pressurisation Cycles

      Dunno. But the landing gear surely accrue cycles too?

  6. LDS Silver badge

    It's just made to avoid to pay for the Austrian highway "vignette"...

    .... it's always a nuisance when you have to travel to/from Switzerland and Germany in that area (although Swiss make you pay their "vignette" as well).

  7. Jon 37

    "meanders a little"

    The reason it "meanders a little" would be because taking off in the same direction as the runway is a good idea, and landing in the same direction as the runway is an even better idea. Landing in a different direction from the runway tends to be rather spectacular.

    Arranging for both takeoff and landing to be flying into the wind helps as well, it gives you a shorter and slower takeoff and landing. Because if the plane needs to be moving through the air at speed X in order to take off, and the wind is blowing at speed Y, then your ground speed for takeoff/landing is X minus Y.

    Oh, and if everyone else is taking off & landing in a particular direction down a runway, then air traffic control are not going to let you take off in the opposite direction, because you'd fly head-on into the planes lining up to land.

  8. Phil Endecott

    I was hoping it would be a sea plane, or better still an airship!

    (Friedrichshafen was the base of the Zeppelin operation.)

    1. Holtsmark

      Friedrichshafen IS the base of the Zeppelin operation.

      Somewhere I have a nice picture of a Zeppelin NT in Friedrichshafen, moored at the nose while the rest of the vehicle experiences an updraft. Somewhat reminisent of this image: (SFW)

      As for short flights; Luxair flies Luxembourg-Saarbrücken-Hamburg.

      The Luxembourg-Saarbrücken stretch only lasts a few minutes. The goal is off course to cover both Luxembourg-Hamburg and Saarbrücken-Hamburg. Nobody flies Luxembourg-Saarbrücken, although, coming from Hamburg, a couple of Luxemburgers tend to exit in Saarbrücken by mistake. The crew has gotten very good at rounding up these somewhat sheepish looking passengers, and herding them back into the aircraft.

  9. ldm

    Island hopping

    Depending how you define "country" (they have ccTLDs and are self-governing for the most part, so that counts as far as I'm concerned) Jersey to Guernsey or vice-versa is also a very short ride - maybe 10 minutes in the air on a good day.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Island hopping

      The obvious of conclusion of Scottish independence is for the Orkneys to get independence from the distant imperialist oppressors in Edinburgh and then the various islands to split from each other, until Westray and littler-Westray are independent of each other. Then we will really have the shortest intentional flight

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Island hopping

        I thought that it was Westray to Papa Westray and that it was across 100 yards of sea, or something like that.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Island hopping

          Couldn't they just get a big catapult?

          I believe they're sold by the Acme Corporation, as ably demonstrated by Wyle E Coyote...

  10. Swiss Anton


    A Gibbs Quadski (the thing Clarkson was riding in the Top Gear Lake Como special) could do it in about 18 minutes, though you would need to add a few minutes on to that to change out your wet clothing on arrival.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like