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Top 10 Movie Flights That Will Make You Fear Flying

Thu, Apr 1, 2010

Featured, Fun

Flying is the safest form of travel.  But that doesn’t stop people from worrying before a flight.  That might be because the idea of a 900,000 pound metal machine flying through the air, miles above the ground, defies all reason and logic.

Yet most airlines have only had very few fatal crashes in their long history.  Some airlines such as Southwest and Jet Blue have never even had a fatal accident.  In fact, you have a greater risk of dying on your drive to work and the airport before your flight.

But really, the only thing you have to fear about air travel is sitting next to an obese person who takes up half your seat or getting stuck next to the baby with the unlimited supply of tears.  That’s about as bad as it can get.  Unless, of course, you happen to be on a plane like one in these movies…

Alive

If you thought airline food was bad, imagine having to eat the other passengers.  That’s what the survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 had to do after their plane crashed in the Andes mountains on October 13th, 1972.  Those that didn’t get sucked out of the plane after it clipped a mountain peak (later named the Glacier of Tears) or die when it crashed into a mountain slope had to feast off their dead friends and family for two months until they were rescued.  Of the 40 on board, only 16 made it out alive.  The details of their miraculous survival were heavily documented, but the burning question was never answered: do humans taste like chicken?

Final Destination

This is the movie that made us realize airport terminology is freakin’ creepy.  Words with connotation of death surround us at an airport.  Terminal?  Final Destination?  That’s messed up.  Yet most of us casually dismiss the warning signs and overt foreshadowing.  But not teen-heartthrob-turned-nobody Devon Sawa.  In the movie, he has a premonition that everyone on board a flight to Paris will die a fiery death after take-off.  He tries to warn everybody but nobody listens because he’s a teenager and teenagers are all untrustworthy attention whores on some form of hallucinogenic drug.  He and some classmates get kicked off the plane and whatdoyaknow, the plane explodes soon after.  As logic would indicate, Death is pissed because the kids circumvented his plan.  So Death stalks the plane escapees and tries to kill them via hilariously morbid Rube Goldberg set-ups (because he’s Death and Death can’t be that obvious).

Cast Away

An uninhabited island with heavenly white beaches and fresh coconuts sounds like a great escape to most people.  Not Tom Hanks.  In Cast Away, Hanks survives a plane crash in the South Pacific and washes ashore a picturesque island that would normally cost thousands of dollars to visit if anyone knew it existed.  But Hanks isn’t appreciative of this free vacation.  Despite lush plant life, ample resources and warm weather, Hanks wants to return to the world of nagging bosses, a pile of bills and, for some ungodly reason, Basset Hound lookalike Helen Hunt.  After four years on the island, Hanks learns to fish and hike and perform dentistry with an ice skate.  He also grows out a beard that rivals ZZ Top and goes a little crazy, befriending a volleyball he calls Wilson.  Eventually, Hanks leaves the island because he’s ungrateful and apparently hates paradise.  He’s later rescued by a cargo ship and returned to society where people talk to other humans instead of inanimate objects.

Turbulence

We’re not sure how often convicted murders are transported on typical commercial flights with unassuming passengers, but hopefully after Turbulence the protocol changed because it’s a recipe for disaster.  Two criminals aboard a Boeing 747 en route to LAX manage to break free from their air marshal escorts.  A shoot out ensues, killing the air marshals, and, as bad luck would have it, the pilots too.  As if things couldn’t get any worse, the plane is heading right for a Category 6 storm, which is so freakin’ big that a category that high doesn’t even exist in the real world.  But there’s no need to worry because a stewardess takes over the plane’s controls.  Even though real pilots require years of training, she’s peered inside the cabin a few times, which makes her totally capable of navigating the plane through a raging storm and landing a plane.

United 93

No doubt that after 9/11 the fear of flying increased dramatically.  The idea that terrorists with fake bombs and box cutters could hijack a plane and use the plane itself as a bomb was shocking and unnerving.  But it wasn’t a threat to the heroic passengers aboard United Airlines flight 93.  After receiving word that terrorists had crashed two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon, the passengers aboard United 93 take action to prevent another attack.  Using makeshift weapons, the passengers selflessly overpower the hijackers and bring down the plane in a field in Pennsylvania, preventing what could have been thousands of more deaths.  The film is an intense, no holds barred depiction of heroism and martyrdom told in real time, and even though it’ll renew your fear of flying, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the American spirit and human courage.

The Edge

Here’s another movie where the worst part isn’t the plane crash, it’s the aftermath.  In the case of The Edge, it’s being stuck in the wilderness with your enemy.  After their small plane crashes in Alaska, Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, who are entangled in a love triangle with the ageless Elle Macpherson, must work together to survive in a harsh world without internet and down comforters, and evade a blood-thirsty brown bear with uncanny stalking abilities.  Using their new found Bear Grylls-like wildlife skills and narration-worthy voices, they overcome the bear, but then must face each other in a duel where only one man will prevail.  Surviving a plane crash is real test, but surviving a verbal barrage from Alec “you thoughtless little pig” Baldwin is much more difficult test.

Passenger 57

Yet again a normal commuter plane is used to transport a vicious criminal, and yet again the criminal manages to escape.  In Passenger 57, however, it was with the aid of henchmen disguised as flight crew; this is back in the days when apparently airport security didn’t have an efficient system and anyone could misrepresent themselves as a steward.  The evil-doers made the rookie mistake of not checking to see if Wesley freakin’ Snipes and his 5th-degree black belt was on the plane.  Snipes subsequently kicks serious criminal ass en route to landing the plane and freeing the hostages.  If you’re going to take one thing out of the movie, it’s that people who fear flying should only fly if Wesley Snipes is on their flight.

Executive Decision

Perhaps the most well-known export from the Middle East is terrorists.  Sure, they could apply themselves in more productive ways, but it seems like a lot of them prefer the terrorist route.  And, unfortunately for the civilized world, they’re really good at it.  This time the Middle Eastern terrorists not only overtake a Boeing 747, they somehow manage to sneak a bomb filled with a dangerous nerve gas onto the plane.  So Stephen Seagal, Kurt Russell and a small army of well-trained ass-kickers sneak onto the plane mid-flight via stealth fighter jet to dull out said ass-kicking, defuse the bomb and rescue the hostages.  Of course, the pilots are killed, meaning the hero, Russell, has to land the plane to become a hero and subsequently bang stewardess Halle Berry.  As luck would have it, Russell is an amateur pilot, and even though his experience is limited to navigating little 4-seater plane, his skills somehow translate to a 400-seat Boeing and he’s able to safely land the plane.

Snakes On A Plane

What movie preys on people’s worst fears more than Snakes On A PlaneSnakes are scary.  Planes are scary.  Put the two together and you’re on the Nightmare Express to hell.  In the movie, Samuel L. Jackson escorts a witness to a murder to testify at a trial in LA.  The murderer’s cronies try to prevent this by loading the plane with a crate full of venomous digital snakes, which are just deadly as real snakes.  To make matters worse, the passengers have been sprayed with a pheromone that makes the snakes attack.  But Jackson has had it with the mother effing snakes on the mother effing plane, so he sets out with a crow bar and a serious case of anger to throttle the snakes and save the passengers.  Wouldn’t you know, the pilots are killed and the only people capable of landing the plane are Jackson and a gamer who has dabbled in flight simulation.  This dude must have played the most accurate video game flight simulator known to man because he lands the plane, proving once again that you don’t need a pilot’s license if you know how to press a few buttons.

Red Eye

Sitting next to a charming and attractive person for an entire flight is the one thing we wish for before boarding a plane.  But it doesn’t work out so well for Rachel McAdams in Red Eye.  Her neighbor, Cillian Murphy, turns out to be a terrorist who threatens to kill her father if she doesn’t assist him in his assassination attempt of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.  The two play a delightful game of cat and mouse on the plane before McAdams manages to thwart his plans.  The moral is, if you find yourself stuck next to the loud snorer on your next flight, at least it’s not as bad as sitting next to terrorist.

Honorable Mentions

Mega Shark Vs. Octopus
This giant shark confused an airplane with a minnow.

Flightplan
Jodie Foster loses her kid on a plane and no one can find her.  It’s a freakin’ plane, there are only so many places the kid could hide.

Fearless
Surviving plane crash, good.  Going crazy afterward, bad.

Airplane!
If inexperienced people can somehow fly a plane, so can a large blow-up doll.

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Fact: inflatable boats are more reliable than parachutes.

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17 Responses to “Top 10 Movie Flights That Will Make You Fear Flying”

  1. Rawbean says:

    One of my favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

    Nice theme for a blog post! I too can’t stand Helen Hunt. Glad we don’t see her around much anymore.

  2. r3ap3r says:

    Ok i have a movie question as you seem to have the plane movies down pat. i remember watching this old movie with my dad when i was a kid it had to do with a guy who assembled this bomb/gas thing into a clock on the plane then he put it under his seat and got off before take off. Just wondering if anyone knows what its called thanks

  3. Jetpacker says:

    Doesn’t sound familiar, but it would make a great plot for Speed 3.

  4. r3ap3r says:

    Ya i don’t know its like the movie was so good i want to watch it again but i cant recall the name its almost worse then not knowing the name of a song on the radio.

  5. Jetpacker says:

    We get that a lot where we think of a scene and can’t figure out what movie it was from.

    Well, we tried looking around for a movie that fits your description, and it turns out that other people have asked for the same movie… but no one knows what it is! There were a lot of corny ’80′s and ’90′s action movies with similar elements, but nothing about a plane blowing up if it dropped below a certain altitude. Whatever this movie is, it sounds implausible and awesome… like almost every other movie on this list.

  6. Jem says:

    i like con air. i wouldn’t wanna be on that flight where all the passengers are criminals.

  7. Jem says:

    this isn’t a movie about a plane, but at the beginning of knight and day, tom cruise lands the plane. well, crashes it safely after killing almost everybody on board.

  8. Jetpacker says:

    Thankfully we can’t buy a ticket on Con Air. Even though that would be a terrifying flight to be on, isn’t it freakier that they actually transport vicious killers on normal flights? I don’t think we could rely on the guy who murdered people to be in charge of the exit row.

  9. Johnny Pack says:

    good good…this post deserves nothing …hahaha just joking :P …nice post :P

  10. bob says:

    r3ap3r did u end up finding out what that movie was called?

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