Catch Me If You Can JFK

A Scene from Catch Me If You Can, filmed at JFK Airport’s TWA Flight Center, which is currently being transformed into a hotel.

APEX Insight: Air New Zealand has compiled a list of the top 20 airports to star in films, as a way of promoting its low-cost flights to Los Angeles International Airport, which ranked first.

As highlighted by the holiday classic Love Actually, some of life’s most memorable and touching moments take place at airports and on the silver screen – and sometimes at airports on the silver screen. Air New Zealand tallied how many times these two experiences overlap and shared the results in an infographic. The airline has forged its own strong ties with Hollywood, including destination marketing campaigns tied to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises which were transformed to meta-films as viral Air New Zealand safety videos.

Image via Air New Zealand

At the number one spot, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can claim fame to a total of 173 productions filmed on its premises. Scenes from Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Live Free or Die Hard were filmed on site – some of which explain airline emergency evacuation procedures and show that airline pilots are reliable when it comes to dealing with the unexpected. Speaking of the unexpected, the 1977 sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind also features a scene filmed at LAX, as does Airplane!

Heathrow Airport comes in second with 75 productions, including Love Actually, A Fish Called Wanda and Bend it Like Beckham. Heathrow can also claim the Stanley Kubrick cinematic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove and has its own response to Die Hard with the James Bond 007 classic Die Another Day.

John F. Kennedy International Airport ranks 8th with 30 productions, laying claim to the retro-aviation true-crime Catch Me If You Can. What AvGeek / film geek wouldn’t love a vintage Pan Am trip, masterfully realized by Steven Spielberg, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken? LAX is featured in this movie too, and MIA and CDG have cameos. Let’s not forget the pivotal role JFK played in When Harry Met Sally.

Chicago is an important aviation hub. Not only is it home to both Boeing’s and United’s headquarters, but O’Hare International Airport played a critical role in the hugely popular Home Alone series. O’Hare ranks 14th with 17 productions, touching hearts and tickling funny bones with My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sleepless in Seattle, and, of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles.