Best Flight Attendant Movies, Shows & Documentaries

pilot movies

The airline industry can sometimes feel like it’s shrouded in mystery! Between the secret, allegedly glamorous lives of crew members, mysterious aircraft events, and the inner workings of huge airline corporations, it’s no wonder there is so much intrigue around airline media.

Movies and TV shows of all different genres have been released since the intriguing “Pan Am days” so in this article, I’ll be highlighting some of the most popular, suspenseful, and informational content currently available on airlines!

As a flight attendant, I’m going to start with a category I can relate to the most…

Shows and Movies About Flight Attendants

The Flight Attendant

Type: TV Serie

Created by: Steve Yockey

flight attendant

This is currently the most well-known, recent TV series about… you guessed it: A flight attendant!

Well, mostly.

Cassandra Bowden (played by Kaley Cuoco) isn’t exactly what I would consider a role model in the industry.

She’s actually a reckless alcoholic who gets unwillingly thrown in the middle of a crime scene after a wild night out on a Bangkok layover.

Throughout this suspenseful murder mystery series, she suffers hallucinations and flashbacks while she desperately tries to clean up her act in an attempt to piece together what actually happened that fateful night.

While this show is more about a murder mystery and the consequences of alcoholism than the ins and outs of the airline industry, I would still recommend it as a solid, binge-worthy drama series.

View from the Top

Type: Movie

Director: Bruno Barreto

View from the Top

An airline classic!

I think this should be shown in initial inflight training on a fun, lighten-the-load day.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays a small-town girl who grew up in a trailer park, but whose head is way up in the clouds to become a first-class, international flight attendant.

While some of the shenanigans and the style of this cute and light-hearted comedy might be a little lost on the newer generation of flighties (after all it was filmed in the early 2000s, which is now a whopping 20 years ago – yikes!), the senior mamas and daddies, and especially those of us who have worked for smaller airlines, can really appreciate this one.

Come Fly With Me

Type: TV Serie

Creators: Matt Lucas and David Williams

Come Fly With Me

Who loves British humor? This one is for you.

This comedy mockumentary definitely deserved more praise and recognition than it received when it came out.

The twist? The two actors, Matt Lucas and David Williams play 50+ characters through the entire series, including flight attendants, pilots, airport workers, passengers, etc.

This sketch comedy pokes fun at everything airline, including the targeting of actual existing low-cost and major airlines.

Unfortunately, a second season never was released, which makes this a TV show that’s quick  and totally worth checking out!

Pan Am

Type: TV Serie

Creators: Nancy Hult Ganis and Jack Orman

pan am

This 2011 television series is about the iconic Pan American World Airways, starring Margot Robbie and Christina Ricci.

With strong Mad Men vibes, this period drama was all about the throwbacks.

This show follows the sexy and compelling stories of the pilots and flight attendants working for Pan Am in the early 1960s.

It was canceled by ABC after only 14 episodes due to a drop in ratings, but it was popular and intriguing while it lasted.

TV Shows and Movies About Pilots


Type: Movie

Director: Robert Zemeckis


Since we’re starting off this category with yet another character who is an alcoholic crew member, I really want to take a moment and stress that this is NOT the norm and very generous liberties have been taken by Hollywood when this movie was made.

Pilots take their jobs very seriously. Flight school is not only expensive but also extremely time-consuming, which includes years and years of training, practice, instructing and licensing.

And so it’s extremely rare that those who choose to go into this field are not 110% dedicated to the safety of not only their own well-being but the well-being of the passengers they carry on their flights.

Whew, okay – got out of the way!

So, Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a promiscuous, alcoholic pilot who is emotionally burnt out on his career but is SO skilled at what he does that he manages to save a crashing plane and all of the passengers on board.

How does he do this? By flying the plane upside down, of course! (P.S. A word of advice: Don’t ever watch this with your pilot friends like I did unless you want to hear cursing and protests in the background the entire time.)

Anyway, as an investigation is carried out for more details of the incident, more of Whit’s dark and troubling life also begins to unfold.


Type: Movie

Director: Clint Eastwood 


This is a much more realistic movie than our previous movie, Flight!

If Whit is our anti-hero, that would make Captain Sully the opposite – a protagonist in the airline world, along with the rest of the who heroically saves an entire cabin full of passengers by leading them to a miraculous safety.

Hence why this event is called the “Miracle on the Hudson”.

This is based on a true story, where a bird strike (exactly how it sounds – a flock of birds flying into the engines) causes a double engine failure and forces the pilots to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.

Spoiler alert🚨: Everyone survives, BUT that’s just the beginning of the movie. Watch it to dive deep into the drama of the following investigation and how these heroes’ lives were subsequently affected.

American Made

Type: Movie

Director: Doug Liman

American Made

“A fun lie based on a true story.” Hollywood loves to dramatize everything airline and this CIA movie is no exception!

This movie storyline follows the life of Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), a commercial TWA pilot who illegally smuggles Cuban cigars to Canada.

After being caught, he is then subsequently offered recruitment by the CIA due to his sweet, “undetectable” flying skills. He agrees in order to avoid jail time and becomes a pilot for their top secret reconnaissance missions in Central America against the cartel.

The story then gets complicated as the assignments get more and more lucrative and also more dangerous.

No matter how much of the story is true or fibbed, it’s an engaging, must-watch film.

Documentaries about Airplanes and Airlines

Why Planes Crash

Creator: Carolina Sommers

This series is not as popular as it used to be, but it’s still out there, and I found it so very interesting to watch.

The show highlights different airline events, incidents and crashes and thoroughly breaks down the various reasons and aftermath for what has occurred.

Technical, mechanical, and human error are all factors in this show, and after watching, it makes apparent why some of those airline rules we always wonder why exist.

I recommend maybe not watching this right before you set off for your tropical vacation, but it is a great show for the more curious minds!

United 93

Director: Paul Greengrass

This is a classic, memorial documentary of 9/11, and the mysterious events and details surrounding the last plane crash.

Just a warning: It is extremely dark and heartbreaking, but informative and worth watching for those who want to know more about what happened on that significantly tragic day in American history.

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

Director: Rory Kennedy

This documentary is for those who are interested in the more political side of the airline industry.

While still dark, (can someone please make a happy airline documentary, already??) this is a very eye-opening piece about one of the most successful airplane manufacturers in the world: Boeing.

It highlights Boeing’s involvement in the two tragic crashes of the 737 MAX8 aircraft and reveals their obvious motives of their own profit over the safety of their passengers, their attempts to conceal mechanical problems on the MAX, and the prioritization of their own personal financial and political gain.

Bonus Movie

This next one doesn’t really fit into the above categories but is a must-watch film for all airline crew plus enthusiasts.


Director: David Zucker


It’s a comedic gem. I guarantee you this movie has more popular quotes than you even realized came from this movie…

– “Can you fly this plane, and land it?”

– “Surely you can’t be serious.”

– “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”

This spoof comedy targets all the airline disaster movies that came out in the 1970’s. Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays) is an alcoholic ex-fighter pilot war veteran who is on a plane where the passengers get food poisoning.

With the flight crew incapacitated, he must land the plane with the help of the plane’s “autopilot” (a large, inflatable dummy named Otto) and his flight attendant ex-girlfriend (Julia Hagerty). It’s as fun and ridiculous as it sounds, and I highly recommend this classic.

Wrap Up

Whether you’re airline crew or just an aviation enthusiast, these are the top movies, TV shows, and documentaries to watch! Hopefully this is more than enough material for your upcoming movie night or to binge-watch on that next rainy day layover! ✈️

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