American Airlines helped ‘Sully’ take off, but it won’t screen the film on flights

Miracle on the Hudson
A raft leaves the US Airways jet that landed on the Hudson River in New York on Jan. 15, 2009. American Airlines helped Clint Eastwood film his movie on the crash and its aftermath, but won’t show it on flights.
(Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

Airlines typically don’t show movies and television series on flights if they include certain upsetting subjects, such as disasters and plane crashes.

That is even true for “Sully,” the new movie about the 2009 landing of a US Airways flight on the Hudson River, dubbed the Miracle on the Hudson.

American Airlines, which merged with US Airways last year, won’t show the film on its flights even though the Fort Worth-based carrier helped director Clint Eastwood film the movie at LaGuardia International Airport in New York.

American Airlines confirmed that it set aside an Airbus 320 jet and a gate at LaGuardia last October for the filming of the movie. The carrier even provided uniforms and advice on the airline’s rules about acceptable facial hair.


“We did it without disrupting our operations,” said Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for American who worked for US Airways during the 2009 incident.

The movie focuses on how Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, played by Tom Hanks, safely landed the jet on the Hudson River after birds knocked out both engines.

Why did American Airlines donate so much of its time and equipment for this movie?

“The story is so important,” Mohr said. “It’s one of the greatest aviation stories ever.”


But American Airlines won’t screen the film on its onboard entertainment system, she said, because the topic may upset nervous fliers.

“We are proud of the crew and how everything turned out, but we are fully aware that it could be upsetting to someone on the plane,” Mohr said.

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