Shortest Flight times- US to Europe

I am a very fearful flyer and attempting to plan a European trip. I would like to know the shortest route from the US to Europe. I would like to go to Paris, Amsterdam and/or Italy. Any suggestions on counquering this fear would be much appreciated as well!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11076 posts

The absolute shortest would be to Shannon airport in Ireland from some location in the northeast of the US (or southeast Canada). This may only cut an hour off the time to London, though.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7742 posts

Or if you wanted to break up the flight you could fly to Rekivak Iceland and then connect to your final destination in Europe.

Posted by Kelly
Phoenix, AZ
2 posts

Kent- thank you for the link to the Fear of Flying area. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one.

I think I would prefer to fly to a US city from AZ, then on to Europe. Perhaps breaking up the time on the actual airplane would help. Is there any flight 6 hours or less? Iceland-hmmmm I will look into that one as well! :) Thank you!

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

There are self-help resources to ease or overcome the fear of flying…books, videos, etc. Also, there are courses you can take, and therapy may be an option for extreme fear of flying. Prescription medication is an option, too. I had a colleague who travelled all over the world on business 300+ days a year but slept through most flights thanks to his prescription. He would fall asleep before we even pushed back from the gate! Reykjavik, Iceland is a little more than half way, and you can connect there on Icelandair. Their North American gateways are Seattle, Minneapolis, Toronto, Orlando, New York, Boston, and Halifax. That would break it up into two manageable segments for you. I’ve flown with them before…good airline. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but the statistics prove that flying with a major carrier on a large commercial jet is about as safe as it gets for any form of travel. Good luck, and rest assured you’ll be better than fine!

Not to muddy-up your fear of flying any further, but something else to consider is that non-stop means you’ll only need to take-off and land once. Since the statistics indicate that taking-off and landing are the two most vulnerable periods during a flight, you’re probably better off (statistically speaking) flying non-stop. Realistically, it’s safe no matter how you do it.

One last item I neglected to mention…check out You’ll find all kinds of valuable information about flying and safety, including information on overcoming your fear.

Posted by Jon
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
368 posts

I totally feel for you...

Just to preface my response, I am an ex-fearful flier. It took a lot of reading, rationalization and a little private aircraft training for me to get over my fears.

In the short term, drugs and alcohol is probably your best way of cutting down the flight time (in your head) and stress. Personally, I wouldn't want to be recovering from medication when I landed in Europe, but if it makes your experience a little better then it might be worth it.

For long term management of your fear, I really recommend reading about how aircraft work, how the processes work and how they really are the safest means of travel (using the stairs in your home are or taking a shower are statistically more dangerous).

However, from a statistical perspective, adding more landings and takeoffs adds risk, so making stops every couple of hours (i.e., East coast US, Iceland, Ireland then to Western Europe) is actually counter productive. They also add stress and confusion trying to make connecting flights, etc. In any case, you are going to have around 10+ hours of flight time from the Western USA, and there is not much you can do about that.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
9302 posts

We get this question so often (you aren't the only one) that I don't think we can say anything new that hasn't been said in the last 50 posts on this[Edit: I sure was wrong on that statement--see below! :) ]. And so, for you I've collected in one place that last 50 posts of our advice and collected wisdom re fear of flying:click here to see 50+ prior posts on fear of flying.Re your question about the length of the flight: you live in Arizona, from Arizona to western Europe is a long way, any flight you get is going to be a longer flight than you would wish it to be: figure roughly 10 hours if it's non-stop. There's not anything you can do to shorten the distance the plane has to fly to get you to Europe. Obviously, end points such as London are farthest west in Europe and will have a somewhat shorter flight than if your end point is farther southeast in Europe, such as Rome.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3281 posts

I like to fly to London from San Francisco, stay overnight near St Pancras train station, then take the Eurostar train to Paris the next day. My next trip I will probably fly to London, stay overnight, then fly to Italy the next day. Or, take a train from Paris after spending a few days there.

Posted by Mike
Yorkshire, UK
264 posts

Probably the most practical advice would be to get on a BA flight and go non stop to London. I believe there is non stop service from Phoenix It is a highly reputable airline that will take you to western london in one direct hop. You can then Eurostar as needed to Paris.