Eight bad movie choices when flying

26 Jul 2017 by Craig Bright

Snakes on a Plane

Different airlines have different policies when it comes to allowing pets to travel in the main passenger cabins, but we’re pretty sure a bunch of venomous, slithering reptiles would be a strict violation of most policies.

Ophidiophobes (people with a phobia of snakes) should probably steer clear of this one, particularly as you may leap out of your seat when you next fumble around for your seatbelt and mistake it for a hissing cobra.

Air Force One

We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that, while a number of business travellers may travel on private jets or even the suites aboard Emirates’ A380s, few are likely to have the opportunity to fly aboard the Boeing VC-23A that is Air Force One.

That said, the last thing a traveller wants to be reminded of is the possibility of an in-flight takeover by a group of armed terrorists – unless they also happen to be flying with Harrison Ford circa 1997. At the very least, it may make the person in the seat next to you more than a little uneasy when you inadvertently yell out “get off my plane!” in unison with Ford while wearing your noise-cancelling headphones.

Con Air

We’re going to go out on another limb here and assume that most business travellers are not doing their work trips aboard a military aircraft carrying convicted felons, either (if it is, you may wish to re-read your business’s compliance requirements).

Aside from the obvious plot point – an aircraft overtaken by a group of convicts – the numerous scenes of the armed forces attempting to forcibly bring down the aircraft, along with aircraft explosions galore, may not be the best choice for the nervous flyer.

In fact, the film won the Razzie for “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property”. Maybe an award-winning film like Lincoln is a better idea…

Die Hard 2

Unequivocally everyone’s least favourite of the three original Die Hard movies (we’re going to casually ignore Die Hards 4 and 5), Die Hard 2 doesn’t involve the takeover of a single aircraft. Instead, it chooses to hold hostage an entire medley of aircraft by having an armed gang takeover an airport.

Few films make an innocent holding pattern suddenly seem so sinister. Add in the unsettling scenes of an aircraft careening into the runway, and perhaps this is a film best left for solid ground.

And anyway, Die Hard 1 and 3 are by far the superior films (who wouldn’t prefer to watch some combination of Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Samuel L Jackson) so stick to those two. Yippee-ki-yay.


In 2005’s Flightplan, aircraft engineer Jodie Foster wakes up on a plane to find her six-year-old daughter has vanished. What’s worse, the other passengers say they never saw her daughter and the cabin crew say she was never on the flight’s manifest… is Foster insane? Or at the centre of a conspiracy? Either way, it’s unsettling to imagine losing a child at 37,000 feet. Foster fans, best stick to The Silence of the Lambs – at least there’s no aircraft in that film (though it may make you question the Chianti they serve with the in-flight meal).

Final Destination

Final Destination tells the story of a group of passengers who board a plane that is destined to crash. Luckily, one of the characters has a convenient bout of precognition, and averts disaster by getting his group of friends off the plane.

While his vision of the plane’s demise ultimately turns out to have been true, (hence its entry to this list) the characters are not free from peril, as they sequentially shuffle off their mortal coils in a series of increasingly grotesque and bizarre ends as “fate” hunts them down.

Forget a fear of flying, this film will make you scared of your own hairdryer.


Now hear us out. While it’s undeniable that Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending, dream-invading heist epic is gripping, there’s one sequence that ought to give premium passengers pause for thought.

When the main characters require a 10-hour window in which to invade a man’s dream, they choose a long-haul flight to Los Angeles (“one of the longest flights in the world”, says Ken Watanabe’s character – clearly he could do with a bit of a refresher).

In order to do this, they buy out the first class cabin and pay off the flight attendant in order to drug their target for the duration of the heist.

Watch this movie in first, or even business class, and you may begin looking at your cabin crew staff and fellow passengers with suspicion… You eschew all your meals, go without drink, and fervently stay awake throughout the entire flight as the crippling paranoia deepens its hold. Hardly a good way to start a work trip…


Because is there anything more horrifying than planes that have gained sentience?

What did we miss? Tell us your nominations for the worst film choice when flying in the comments below.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at

Business Traveller UK September 2023 edition
Business Traveller UK September 2023 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below