Necessary premise: it’s never a good sign when a TV series starts on an aeroplane. Just think of the enormously popular TV series Lost (2004-2010), Manifest, created by Jeff Rake in 2018, and the latest Belgian series Into the Night.

In this article, thankfully, we’re not looking at thrillers or apocalyptic scenes, nor are we going to talk about so-called disaster episodes (adrenaline-charged episodes created ad hoc to precipitate an actor leaving a show…). Instead, we’re going to talk about scenes shot among aeroplanes and airports that cause us to feel emotional, to smile and to laugh out loud.

Talking of laughing, who could help but immediately think of Friends? The TV series is almost entirely set inside the apartments of the six main characters in Manhattan or in their favourite café, the Central Perk. The location changes in the last episode of season 10, however. Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) has just taken her seat on a flight to Paris when she receives a call from Phoebe. Her worried friend asks her to get off the plane immediately because she has a feeling there’s a problem with the left… ‘phalange’ (which obviously does not exist!). What Rachel is not aware of is that the false alarm has a little something to do with Ross, who is determined to stop her from leaving so that he can declare his love for her…

One thing we never understood is why the TV series Pan Am, which aired between 2011 and 2012, was not successful. The first and only season produced by ABC tells the stories, loves and battles of women working as air stewards in the ‘60s for the legendary airline that changed the world of civil aviation. With an exceptional cast (Christina Ricci, Margot Robbie, Michael Mosley), Pan Am transports viewers to aeroplanes, airports and luxury hotels, taking a leap backwards into an era of great changes.

There is also one departure in Grey’s Anatomy, the most-loved TV series of all time, with 17 seasons and 369 episodes airing from 2005 until today, that has stayed in our hearts. Season 7, episode 7: Arizona Robbins breaks up with Callie Torres at the airport, leaving the doctor a few metres before the gate for an 18-hour flight to Malawi. Rest assured, however, Callie does find comfort a few episodes later…

Last but not least… Is there anyone out there who has never watched The Simpsons? In the sitcom created in 1987 by the cartoonist Matt Groening, Homer and Bart are impossible passengers, able to drive even the most patient flight assistant crazy…