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What is a Commuter Flight?

A commuter flight is a short-haul plane in which people typically use to commute between work and home. Commuter flights are those which travel from a small regional airport to a main airport, and are usually domestic flights. Typically, these flights operate on smaller aircraft and are often domestic flights, though this is not always the case.

The idea of commuting by plane is that it compensates for poor transportation methods on the ground, between small towns to larger hubs. This means it is often a lot quicker to commute to work with a flight, rather than on the ground in a car or with public transport.

Popular Commute Flight Routes

Commuting to work with a flight is common in the Silicon Valley, and as mentioned is more common from small towns to larger hubs.

What is a commuter plane?

Technically, a commuter plane is any plane that takes a passenger to and from work. By this definition, it can be any size and hold as many or as few people as possible. However, many recognise commuter planes to be small aircraft that carry 19 people or less.

San Francisco to Los Angeles Airport (SFO -> LAX)

This flight takes a total in-air flight time of only 20 minutes, although the ticket will show the flight duration of 45-60 minutes due to time spend taxiing on the ground. Airlines which service this route include Southwest, Delta, Alaska Airlines, United and American Airlines.

San Diego to Los Angeles (SAN -> LAX)

This route has a flight duration of around 1 hour. American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta are airlines which operate this route.

Burbank Bob Hope to Oakland (BUR -> OAK)

This is a 1h15m flight, and is operated by airlines such as Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines.

Popular Commuter Airlines

American Eagle

operates flights within the US.

Japan Air Commuter

Japanese airline flying domestically within Japan.


A major regional airline in Columbia, driven by its large number of small commuter aircraft.

San Juan Airlines

A regional airline based at Bellingham Airport in the United States, operating to destinations in Canada and in the US.

Air Choice One

A regional airline operating flights from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to destinations in the midwest and southern USA.

Boutique Air

Currently offers short regional flights across the USA, including to hubs such as Los Angeles, Dallas Fort Worth and Denver. The airline has recently announced a new service between Massena International Airport (MSS) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

Wings Air

This commuter airline is owned by large airline Lion Air, and operates short-haul regional flights to destinations in Indonesia.

Wright Air Service

Wright Air Service is based at Fairbanks International Airport and flies to more than 20 destinations within the state of Alaska.

Surf Air

Surf Air is based at Santa Monica Municipal Airport and flies to over 15 destinations within California, Texas and Europe.

Payment Plans for Commuter Flights

Did you know you can pay for commuter flights with finance on Alternative Airlines? With options like Affirm and PayPal credit, you can split the cost of your flights with monthly instalments. Visit the Affirm and PayPal pages to learn more about how these options can help you commute by plane.

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How are commuter flights different to red-eye flights?

Commuter flights are short enough that they can depart early morning and still arrive at the destination the same day in time for work. Red-eye flights depart late at night and arrive early morning to not miss a working day.

What is a commuter carrier?

A commuter carrier is an airline who recognises a large proportion of its passengers are commuters. Their fleet often contains smaller aircraft, such as Embraer ERJ145 or Bombardier CRJ200 and they often operate routes from small regional airports to larger airport and hubs.

Who commutes to work by flying?

Anyone can use airlines and flights to commute to work, if their home and work location allows it. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons of commuting by plane as opposed to traditional methods of commuting (car or ground public transport). Business travellers are often more likely to use commuter flights than others.