What to Expect Flying in a Tiny Plane

Updated June 22, 2020.

Sometimes your only option is to fly, and often, the only flight available is on a tiny plane. Lots of people I know have expressed great fear for me and utter horror that I would step on such a small aircraft! “How does it fly!?” they exclaim! Trust me, they fly—and actually, they’re pretty great! Here’s what to expect when you find yourself boarding a tiny aircraft. Never fear; you just might like it!

Ready to explore in the Super Cub!

Don’t Be Scared

Seriously, those small planes are so light and need so little distance to take off and land, you’re really defying far fewer laws of gravity than in the largest jet! Check out our experience flying from Honolulu to Molokai with ‘Ohana by Hawaiian!

Quick photo-op after our INCREDIBLE flight to see Kauai and the Na’Pali Coast! Photo Credit: Wings Over Kauai

You May Not have to Go through Security

This is not always the case, but if you’re flying from a small, open-air airport with only one destination, you might not have to undress, take your liquids out, remove your shoes, or anything else!

Awaiting our flight to Isabella Island in the Galapagos!

You Might Get to Sit with the Pilot

It’s true! I’ve been in the co-pilot seat at least three times, and once the pilot let me fly! Those views really can’t be beat, y’all.

When they asked who wanted to ride in the co-pilot seat, I knew it had to be me!

It Will be Noisy

It’s just a fact: small planes are much noisier than big planes! Bring ear plugs if you think you might need them, but otherwise just be ready for a noisy ride, especially if you’re on a propeller, or “prop,” plane!

Only ferries and small propeller planes can land on Block Island!

You Will See Much More than You Would in a Big Plane

Because small planes fly at lower altitudes, you get to be so much closer to the beautiful landscapes and seascapes around you! You will see some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

Kauai, Hawaii. We never would have gotten this close in a large jet!

It’ll be a Short Flight

Still nervous? Don’t worry! Your flight will be a short one. Small planes don’t go as far as larger ones, so you’ll only be up there a couple of hours at the very most. In fact, the flights I’ve taken on small planes have rarely ever been more than half an hour!

The Kalaupapa Peninsula from the air, and sea cliffs in the background. Tiny plane is the only way to get there!

You Might have to be Weighed

Okay, so this is the worst part: you will very probably have to get weighed onsite. I know, I hate it, too! But it’s worth it. If you don’t want to see the number, don’t look at the number! Whoever is weighing you will not shout your weight for all to hear.

Thankfully they didn’t have to weigh us for this trip to Kalaupapa on Molokai!

Your Stuff Will Definitely have to be Weighed

It’s a good idea to get a portable luggage scale to make sure your bags are within the allowable weight. Weight restriction is a very important rule to abide on small flights.

Also essential: a small, lightweight, easily packable backpack. This is the best one I’ve found for small planes, and my Packing Strategies will help you pack light!

It Might be the Only Way to Get Where You Want to Go!

This is the most important reason not to be afraid of flying on a tiny plane: it might be the only way to get to your dream destination! Locations include some of the Galapagos Islands, the Maldives, the Kalaupapa Peninsula, certain areas of Alaska, the Na’Pali Coast of Kauai, and more beautiful places!

A glimpse of Molokai! The only way to visit this Hawaiian island is via a propeller plane!

Have you ever flown in a small aircraft? If not, would you? Tell me below!

Want more about flying? Check out my Air Travel Page!

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12 responses to “What to Expect Flying in a Tiny Plane”

  1. Jane Shoulders Avatar
    Jane Shoulders

    I love flying in tiny planes. I don’t know if you remember Jacky, but my son is a private pilot. He has taken us on many great adventures. For our anniversary one year he flew us around the lighthouses on the Outer Banks and we landed at Kitty Hawk. That was a treat for him. Tiny planes get you up close and personal much better than large ones. Loved this post.

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Wow! I didn’t know Jacky was a pilot; that is so cool! I agree, tiny planes are the way to see the sites best!

  2. Yes, from mainland Belize to our the island of Ambergris Caye for our honeymoon. Scary and gorgeous (and loud, as you say) at the same time. Could see all the way to the bottom of the shallow sea.

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  6. Hi! Thanks for the post! I have no fear of flying, but definitely a fear of heights. My wife and I are considering one of these small flights in PR. Would I be OK you think? How scary is it?

    1. quickwhittravel Avatar

      Hey there! I hope this post is helpful! I think you’ll LOVE IT. You’ll be strapped in and securely inside the plane, so I think the height won’t bother you! I personally don’t have a fear of heights, but I have a massive fear of falling. As long as I’m strapped into or onto something, I’m totally fine. I think it’ll be the same for you. Enjoy the view—tiny flights have the best ones! ✈️

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