As U.S. airlines applied for the CARES Act bailout, they’re required to continue serving all domestic destination unless they receive exemption. American Airlines recently applied to suspend service to Aspen, Montrose, and Eagle/Vail, but the U.S. Department of Transportation denied their request.
As a result, American Airlines is now operating a very special route with a CRJ-700:
Dallas/Fort Worth - Eagle/Vail - Aspen - Montrose - Dallas/Fort Worth.
Each segment is bookable individually, so you could fly from Eagle/Vail to Aspen and stop. However, you cannot fly back as this flight operates one-way.
As American Eagle now operates Eagle/Vail to Aspen, this has created the shortest domestic flight in the United States with a linear distance of just 29 miles. However, this is historically not the shortest U.S. domestic flight as I think United Express once operated San Francisco to Oakland? (11 direct miles).
In terms of direct distance, EGE to ASE now beats the previous title holder of the shortest domestic U.S. flight, Alaska Airlines’ Petersburg (PSG) to Wrangell (WRG) route which is 31 miles.
However, because the Eagle/Vail to Aspen route has many mountains, American Eagle’s flight path is modified significantly in order to avoid the terrain, which results in a longer flight time of around 30 minutes.
Routes by Great Circle Mapper and FR24
This is just another unique route COVID-19 has created. Depending on the government’s leniency, more of these hopper routes could come in the future.
So if you’re bored, go ahead and try this fairly “challenging” and scenic route in Infinite Flight!