TBT: Classic Films to Watch In-Flight

What to watch on your next flight, from Casablanca to Mean Girls


A scene from The Breakfast Club. Picture / Supplied

Gone are the days of sharing one TV screen with 10 rows of passengers. Thankfully, on many airlines, so too are those of choosing from just 20 mediocre movies.

With passengers accustomed to streaming content in their homes, airlines have had to enhance their entertainment options. The smartest carriers have added entire television series, and dedicated movie channels to cater to specific tastes.

Classic movies and old TV shows feature strongly alongside new releases, so you can reminisce with Rocky Horror on the way to Singapore, catch Casablanca en route to LA, or relive The Breakfast Club on your next trip to Brazil.

On airlines such as Emirates and United Airlines, instead of simply watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you can catch up on the previous six episodes too. Emirates also offers a comprehensive Disney back catalogue, on its own dedicated channel.

“Customers on Emirates are just as keen to watch classic movies as any of the new releases and contemporary films,” says Patrick Brannelly, Divisional VP Customer Experience.

The airline's inflight system boasts 2,500 channels, with current classics including East of Eden, Edward Scissorhands and The Wizard of Oz, plus TV series such as Friends.

American Airlines also boasts a vast vintage collection, with current titles including The Colour Purple, Gone with the Wind and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Gone with the Wind is a favourite on Hawaiian Airlines, along with anything James Bond, says a spokesperson for the airline, which recently introduced classic films to its entertainment systems.

“Since Hawaii is a classic destination, we felt the decision was a natural one.”

Current options include the Back to the Future franchise, Singin' in the Rain and The Shawshank Redemption.

Most airlines work with a third party content provider that helps recommend and obtain the rights for films, as well as doing the dirty work of subtitling and editing risque scenes to ensure they are flight appropriate.

While airline crashes are obvious no-gos, shipwreck themes seem to be fine. Titanic appears on Jetstar's and United Airline's current selection, along with Mean Girls and Home Alone on United, and The Beach, Alien, and the original The X-Files series on Jetstar.

Air New Zealand's selections this month include Pulp Fiction, Bonnie and Clyde, Labyrinth and local films Whale Rider and Sione's Wedding, while in May, Singapore Airlines will show The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

• Not all movies featured are available on all flights.

Share this:
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

Subscribe to E-Newsletter