Just 16 minutes: Airline announces shortest flight in the US

United Airlines have announced a new route which is set to become America's shortest.

Flying from Sonoma County to San Francisco, it will take a speedy 16 minutes, from wheels up to wheels down. The flight, which covers just over 100km, will operate three times a week. And while you'll only spend 16 minutes in the air, United will allocate 45 minutes for the trip in its schedule.

The 101 takes in the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and the rolling green hills and beautiful beaches of Marin County on the Sonoma approach over a 90 minute drive, sometimes it just isn't worth risking the traffic when you could be sipping some of the best wines in the county, and indeed country, by the time the sun sinks into the Pacific Ocean on a Friday evening.

Besides which, the birds-eye view of Golden Gate is no less spectacular.

If you're a tourist travelling from Union Square, San Francisco, and using public transport; that's a pretty convenient way to get to Santa Rosa's Charles M Schultz airport, named after Snoopy's comic creator who lived in Santa Rosa.

You can visit the Charles M Schultz museum, plus 425 wineries, 11 state parks and some excellent festivals, such as the annual music event Bottleneck. Film director Francis Ford Coppola owns a winery here, which also contains a museum of his movie memorabilia and a pool open to visitors for those sunny Sonoma weekends.

Sonoma County sits alongside Napa Valley, but it's far more relaxed, doesn't see as many tourists, and it takes in the magnificent Pacific Coast. It also has some of the country's best restaurants, including Single Thread in Healdsburg which is an high-end farm-to-table experience.

While 16 minutes in the air is not long, it's not the world's shortest flight. That title belongs to Loganair, a Glasgow-based company known for its routes to the far-flung archipelagos of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

The company flies two eight-seat Britten-Norman Islanders within Orkney, including the 1??-minute, 2.7-km flight between Westray and Papa Westray that's the shortest scheduled route in the world, with a record time of 57 seconds in the air in a favourable wind.

In North America, Greater Toronto Airways operate North America's shortest flight, between Toronto and Niagara, which takes 12 minutes over 115km.

United Airlines recently announced their new route from Australia, which is set to rival the world's longest flight.

From January, it will fly from Houston to Sydney which will take around 17 hours and 30 minutes. The flight from Sydney back to Houston will take 15 hours and 45 minutes.

See also: The ultimate guide to the best coastal trip in the world

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