From tearful goodbyes to seatmate struggles to that feeling when you're forced to contend with MF-ing snakes on a MF-ing plane, Hollywood has always been able to capture the good, the bad, and the ugly of air travel over the years. Of course Airplane!, Bridesmaids, and The Graduate must make the list. But read on to find our full compilation, in no particular order and by no means definitive (feel free to let us know what we missed), of some of the best, most poignant, silliest, and most iconic airport and airplane scenes featured in movies to date:
1. Up in the Air
In this scene, frequent business traveler Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) schools newbie employee Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) on navigating (a.k.a stereotyping) the TSA security lines at the airport. For example, one of Bingham’s pro tips is to avoid lining up behind old folks because “their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left on Earth.”
On the flight to Vegas for the bachelorette party, maid of honor Annie (played Kristen Wiig) takes “a little something” to ease her flying anxiety, setting off a LMAO chain of events including first-class shenanigans and hallucinations about an imaginary colonial woman churning butter on the wing, all resulting in an emergency landing in Wyoming.
3. Love Actually
The opening scene, which captures warm, fuzzy moments from the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport, is seriously Oprah-level emotional. With Hugh Grant’s soothing British accent saying “love actually is all around,” we dare you not to get a little misty eyed. Who needs a hug?
4. Almost Famous
During this scene, Stillwater’s tour plane encounters stormy weather and appears to be headed for a crash landing, causing the band members to start spewing some juicy confessions and dirty secrets. But, er, unfortunately for them, the plane doesn’t crash and they all die of embarrassment instead.
5. The Graduate
The movie’s opening sequence shows Dustin Hoffman’s character traveling slightly dazed and dead eyed through LAX to Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” mixed with an automated voice instructing him to hold onto the handrail. It really captures how we all feel on our way to baggage claim.
6. Girls Trip
Obviously, an instant Rx for anyone’s fear of flying is Tiffany Haddish and tequila shots, as shown in this scene from Girls Trip.
The climactic scene in the 1942 movie "Casablanca," which was shot at Burbank Airport, features Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman saying a trench coat-clad, bittersweet goodbye that’s chockablock full of classic lines like “we'll always have Paris," “here's looking at you kid,” and “if that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”
8. Snakes on a Plane
The plot to this movie is irrelevant, but as the title suggests hundreds of venomous snakes are released on board a plane, prompting star Samuel L. Jackson to deliver quite possibly the best motherf---ing line in any movie ever.
9. Rain Man
Dustin Hoffman is back at the airport again, this time as Raymond rattling off plane crash statistics to his onscreen brother Charlie Babbitt (played by Tom Cruise). After he refuses to fly to Los Angeles from Cincinnati, the pair hit the road instead to travel across the country together.
10. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
If Twitter existed in 1987, you know businessman Neal Page (played by Steve Martin) would have been sending out some strongly worded missives to @airline after being seated next to shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy) and his stinky socks. Because the middle seat really is the worst.
11. The Wolf of Wall Street
Who hasn’t woken up from a Quaalude-induced nap to find himself restrained by seat belts? Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and The Wolf of Wall Street crew take their hyper masculine debauchery to 30,000 feet in this scene that includes dry humping a flight attendant.
12. Meet the Parents
Ben Stiller’s face and the airline employee’s incessant typing in this scene pretty much sums up every airport convo we’ve ever had. Plus, the change fee of $1,137.11 sounds about right.
Our list would not be complete — no list like this could be truly complete — without this disaster film parody, which inspired a generation of movie makers with its slapstick comedy, visual and verbal puns, and this famous exchange:
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