The beauty of in-flight movies, passenger perspective

Lufthansa AirplaneTwenty years ago, I flew my first international flight from New York to Oslo. While I don’t remember what movies I watched on that flight, I remember craning my neck to see the screen in the middle of the aisle, incredibly grateful there was something to do. I was twelve years old, and there is nothing worse to a pre-teen than being bored. The crick I got in my neck was worth it!

Four years later I flew to Norway again. I do recall the specific movies from that flight—Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, and Volcano with Anne Heche and Tommy Lee Jones. I have to wonder who the genius was who decided to show two volcano-themed movies in a seven hour timespan, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

Fast forward fifteen years to my first trans-Pacific flight. I was flying to Manila from Texas, with the major leg to Tokyo from DFW. One of the things I was the most anxious about was killing time during the 25 total hours of travel.

As luck would have it, I was upgraded to business class for the DFW-Tokyo flight. I knew about the lie-flat beds (and the free drinks!), and so definitely looked forward to those. But I had no idea in-flight entertainment had come so far. There were TV shows, movies, and games to watch! On the back of the seat in front of me! I was in control! No neck craning, no being at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

I had brought plenty to keep me busy for the 14 hour flight—books, knitting, crossword puzzles. None of it was touched. I had so much fun! For a movie junkie, there is nothing like watching an endless stream of films while someone serves you delicious food and wine. Of course, I got so carried away watching Julie and Julia, Fame, and Harry Potter that I kind of forgot that I had to go to sleep. See, once I landed in Manila I was supposed to go to the hotel, shower and change clothes, and then head straight to the office. Whoops. While I did eventually go to sleep, I only got about 4 hours vs. the 6 I was hoping for, and was actually a little sad when the flight was over. That’s a first!

With the incredible variety of in-flight entertainment available today, passengers are so lucky!

For many flights, you could literally bring nothing to do and be totally set for the duration. Even for those not in business class, and therefore not completely in control of the movie scheduling, there are so many choices. They make flying long distances, and even short ones, much, much better.

I learned my lesson from that first flight to Tokyo, and on the next trip limited myself to only two movies so I could get enough sleep (Tron and Captain America). But I also was able to pack far less in my carry-on, because I knew I could rely on the in-flight entertainment to get me through.

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About Sarah Howell

Author of Road Warriorette, Sarah is a professional thirty-something who travels for work. A lot. She does her best to offer insight, advice, and observations to women who travel for work, fun, or who would like to travel more.