American Airlines Assisted 'Sully,' But Won't Show the Movie on Its Planes

The airline shut down gates at LaGuardia for a full day to allow the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic to film.
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood's Sully, which flew into theaters this weekend, taking off with both critical acclaim and early box office success, benefited from cooperation from American Airlines. But American won't be including the movie in its own in-flight entertainment lineup.

American Airlines worked with the filmmakers behind the Warner Bros. pic, assisting and advising on everything from locations to sideburn length.

Sully centers on the much-publicized story of Captain "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), who successfully landed the disabled US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009, saving the lives of the 155 passengers and crew on board.

American and US Airways merged in 2015, and American gave the film its blessing, facilitating access to gates at LaGuardia Airport for filming for an entire Saturday in early October with some 200 extras.

"We spent several months with colleagues at the airport, the people from Warner Bros., along with the Port Authority and the TSA to make sure that there were going to be no issues," says Michelle Mohr, managing director of corporate communications for American Airlines, of the specialized shoot.

"We — us at the airline and the people at Warner Bros. — thought it was very important that it actually be shot at LaGuardia because [the "Miracle on the Hudson"] had such an impact of the people who worked there," she adds.

The airline also provided an Airbus A320 aircraft, as well as access to their Flight Training Center at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, along with crewmembers who were involved in the actual National Transportation Safety Board hearings that followed the landing of Flight 1549, which serves as an integral point of conflict in the Eastwood-directed film.

American ensured the cast was outfitted with the proper uniforms and badges, and also ensured the lengths of actors Hanks and Aaron Eckhart's sideburns were correct.

But will Sully be offered at in-flight entertainment?

"We have actually gotten this question from employees and many other folks," says Mohr. "As much as we love this movie and are so proud of everything the real-life crew of Flight 1549 accomplished, this is one that we have decided not to make available as in-flight entertainment simply because of the subject matter."

She added: "It could be upsetting to someone flying with us or someone looking over and seeing those images, so we decided not to provide it."