An Instagram post about the Adak Island runway claims "the Anchorage to Adak flight is the longest commercial flight in the USA that you can take that doesn't go across state lines." Alaska Airlines schedules a Boeing 737-700 on the 1,192-mile (1,918-km) route twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays:
|AS 164||ANC||2:37 pm||ADK||4:40 pm||3:03|
|AS 161||ADK||5:50 pm||ANC||9:32 pm||2:42|
On Sundays, Alaska Air Cargo flies their unique, all-cargo 737-700 freighters on a simalar schedule as AS 7017/7108.
Is this the longest intrastate commercial flight flight in the United States? It appears to be the longest within Alaska. Most commercial flights within Alaska that don't touch Anchorage are short segments on "milk runs" that serve assorted remote communities so the question devolves to whether any airports are farther from Anchorage. Only two airports in Alaska are farther from Anchorage than Adak: Casco Cove CGS (Attu) and Eareckson Air Station (Shemya), both military airfields at the end of the Aleutian Islands which do not have scheduled commercial service, though Shemya is available as an ETOPS alternate and has received commercial airliners on diversions.
Texas is the second-largest state and thus a plausible place to look for a longer flight. El Paso is at the west tip of Texas and the farthest Texas airport from there appears to be Orange County Airport, 756 mi (1,216 km) to the east. North to south is a bit farther, from Texline to Brownsville, but that's just 782 mi (1,259 km). These Texas far points (map), even if they had non-stop commercial service, aren't contenders.
California is the third-largest state but is taller and thinner than Texas. Crescent City is in the far northwestern corner and Yuma, Arizona is just beyond California's southeastern extent. At 822 mi (1,323 km) (map) they beat Texas but still aren't close to Alaska.
Hawaii rates an honorable mention in this contest. The main islands of the state are clustered fairly close together, easily fitting within the boundaries of Texas or California, never mind Alaska. The Hawaiian archipelago extends much farther, however, and Aloha Airlines once flew from Honolulu to Midway Atoll, in a Boeing 737-200 no less. This flight was a once-weekly scheduled charter, usually Wednesdays, until April 2000 when it became a scheduled flight. At a distance of 1,310 mi (2,108 km) (map) it easily topped the Alaskan flight but doesn't count for this exercise because Midway Atoll is not part of Hawaii but is instead lumped into the United States Minor Outlying Islands.
It seems that Anchorage-Adak is indeed the longest commercial flight in the United States that doesn't cross state lines.
Today's Featured Map shows route of Alaska's longest intrastate flight, shading everything farther from Anchorage. Only the two distant Aleutian military airfields are farther. Also shown are Barrow, Alaska's most-northern airport, and Annette, Alaska's most-eastern airport, plus Hyder, a seaplane base which is the most-eastern landing facility in Alaska. (Technically, Shemya is Alaska's most-easterly airport since it is in the eastern hemisphere, but in this context it makes more sense to think of Hyder as being farthest east.)
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Karl L. Swartz.
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