Stellar Movie Options for Every Flight Duration

We all know that feeling: You want to travel somewhere amazing, but the prospect of sitting through yet another flight is proving to be just a wee bit daunting. And while improvements to airlines’ in-flight entertainment systems and the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets have opened up new ways to pass the time, sometimes this glut of options can make it challenging to know what to watch when.

That’s where we come in. Deliberate over movie choices no more, because we’ve done the math for you. Whether you’re traveling to the middle of Europe or the middle of South Africa, we’ve got some epic recommendations for which movies to watch during your next flight.

From NYC to LA

Flying westward across the U.S. will take just over six hours. That’s plenty of time to watch the first two installments of The Hunger Games series; the inaugural movie clocks in at 142 minutes, while Catching Fire (the second film) is 146 minutes long. Save the saga’s two-movie finale for the return trip. Or go the artsy route and watch 2014’s River of Fundament, which clocks in at a remarkable 5 hours and 50 minutes.

From NYC to Chicago  

It’s a 2.5-hour flight to get halfway across the U.S., meaning one semi-long movie will neatly see you through the trip. You’ve got your pick of the litter when it comes to movies that are between two and 2.5 hours long: Great options include Forrest Gump,Fight Club, Catch Me If You Can, Jerry Maguire, Die Hard, and the classic Rain Man.

To London, United Kingdom

When it comes to crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the amount of in-flight entertainment required will (of course) depend on where you’re coming from. If you’re departing from New York City, expect the flight to take approximately seven hours—or enough time to watch Cast Away, The Matrix, and Captain Phillips. If you’re departing from LA, a nonstop flight should take around 10.5 hours. That gives you more than enough time to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (provided you don’t watch any of the extended cuts).

To Cancun, Mexico

Regardless of whether you’re heading to warmer climes from NYC or LA, the flight will take around 4.5 hours. That’s exactly the amount of time required to watch Beyond: Two Souls, a video-game-turned-movie starring Ellen Page. If that sounds a bit far out for your tastes, consider slightly more mainstream options such as Avatar, Inception, or The Avengers. Each of these movies clocks in at under three hours, so you’ll have time to watch a film and catch a quick nap before heading to the beach.

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To Bangkok, Thailand

While you’re unlikely to find a nonstop flight to Thailand from anywhere in the U.S., in total you can expect to spend around 22 hours in the air whether you’re flying from NYC or from LA. That’s enough time to watch the entire Harry Potter series—we’re talking nearly 20 glorious hours of wizarding magic.

To Rome, Italy

If you’re flying into the land of pizza, pasta, and gelato from NYC, the flight will take around 8.5 hours. That’ll give you enough time to watch the entire Jurassic Parkseries (which clocks in at just under six hours) and your favorite rom-com. Or stick with one theme for the whole flight and watch all four films from the classic Indiana Jones franchise. (Doing so will take you approximately eight hours.)

If you’re flying from LA, expect to be in the air (on and off) for a total of around 21 hours. In that time, you can watch both every Rocky film ever made (for a total of 10.5 hours) and the entire Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which clocks in at 10 hours.

To Cape Town, South Africa

In total, the series of flights required to travel from NYC to Cape Town will have you in the air for approximately 32 hours; if you’re flying from LA, round that number up to 39. In that kind of time, you can pretty much watch anything you’d like. You could watch 24 Hour Psycho, which is exactly the same film as the classic Psycho except that it’s slowed down to two frames per second instead of the original’s 24. You could stream Andy Warhol’s 1967 avant-garde film, Four Stars, which plays for 25 hours. Or you could watch the entire 24-hour music video for Pharrell’s pop hit “Happy”. You could do any of those things, and you’d still have close to 10 hours (or more) of flying left. Good luck to you.

To Auckland, New Zealand

Flying from NYC to Auckland won’t be nonstop, but it will be long—in total, expect to spend around 26 hours in the air. That’s primo viewing time for the entire Twilight Saga, which runs just over 10 hours; contrast it with the Die Hard film series, which clocks in at 10.25 hours. After that, you’ll still have another five hours or so left in the air. Consider filling it with The Godfather Part II (which is just under 3.5 hours) and 10 Things I Hate About You; at just over 1.5 hours, it’ll make a light-hearted cap to an epic film fest.

From LA, it’s a mere 13 hours to Auckland. Go ahead and fill it with a marathon of light-hearted classics like Miss Congeniality (just under two hours), Legally Blond (1.5 hours), Notting Hill (two hours), When Harry Met Sally (1.5 hours), My Best Friend’s Wedding (just under two hours), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (two hours), and Sleepless in Seattle (just under two hours).

This post was posted by The hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on 12 January, 2016.

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