What could be a more fun – and appropriate – venue for the in-flight premiere of an independent film about the way’s aviation has changed the world than a brand new A380 aircraft flying a giant loop over Los Angeles?
That's what officials at Emirates Airlines thought when they learned about "Living in the Age of Airplanes," a National Geographic film by Brian Terwilliger and narrated by Harrison Ford, with an original score by Academy Award-winning composer, the late James Horner.
Emirates hosted a reception in its new lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport and then invited guests on board one of the carrier's newest double-decker A380 for a special film preview flight over the Los Angeles area.
Emirates Airlines is the stuff of legends, defined by luxurious service, culinary treats and stewardesses with cool scarfs draped from their hats. I spent a day exploring that world and seeing a movie that has changed how I feel about traveling by air forever.
Onboard the iconic Airbus A380 aircraft, flying over Los Angeles, guests enjoyed a private screening of National Geographic’s Living in the Age of Airplanes on Emirates’ award-winning ice entertainment system.
My flight really began as I walked into the Emirates Lounge in the International concourse at LAX. As film crews set up to capture the event, graceful servers tempted me with tray after tray of artful bites created by the Dubai based, Catering Manager, George E. Banks. His culinary concepts were understated visual as well as tasty treats. I only wish I had his frequent flier miles!
Soon it was time to board. I was led to a window seat but ‘seat’ doesn’t describe the cocoon of comfort that was mine for the next few hours.
The screen and audio options were dizzying with hundreds of movies, podcasts, news and entertainment on their signature ICE system. My favorite was watching the plane move along the tarmac from one of three vantage points: the pilot’s, looking down from the wing or from the top of the tail. Our movie began shortly after a whisper of a take-off and I listened on complementary noise cancelling headphones. The cocoon had a convenient footrest. I could adjust the seat forward and back, tilt to lay down fully even without bothering the passenger behind me. The window shades operated with a touch.
The large airplane has a lot to explore. There are two stories with a comfortable Economy section below the Business and First-Class sections. On the stair landing there’s a tea pot with a soothing Lemongrass herbal brew. Two First Class showers open to the stairs and throughout there’s burl wood paneling touches, even on the iPad waiting at my seat.
Harrison Ford’s just two weeks earlier had a brush with aviation disaster, but not everyone is hip to the fact that he’s been flying planes for nearly half a century. And he is well known to moviegoers as an onscreen pilot: Think Air Force One, Six Days Seven Nights, the opening scenes of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, even Star Wars).
So who better to narrate the upcoming National Geographic Studios giant-screen film Living In The Age Of Airplanes?
The pic uses aerial and nature photography to show how conquering the air has changed human history in a single century. Produced and directed by Brian J. Terwilliger, the film spans 200,000 years and journeys to 95 locations in 18 countries spanning all seven continents.
Oscar-winning composer James Horner, who scored the two highest-grossing films of all time in Avatar and Titanic, penned the original score and had since passed from an airplane accident.
It was all over too soon - - I could get used to this and yes, they even served popcorn, candied, en route. My airborne aspirations now include a long-distance flight with the Emirates crew in no less than Business Class!
Thank you to the National Geographic and Emirates Airlines teams for the delightful day and for supporting independent films like Living in the Age of Airplanes.