Cine-Traffic in the Air: the Geographies of Inflight Movies from a Selection of European Airlines


  • Emiliano Rossi University of Bologna



Cinema, Inflight, Global, National, Branding


Airplanes have emerged as less and less peripheral spaces of cinematic fruition. Inflight entertainment, indeed, is currently perceived as an amenity commonly provided onboard aircrafts. On these assumptions, the essay examines on-the-fly cinema primarily in terms of industrial practices and commercial strategies. A theoretical overview will clarify some of the issues most recurrently associated to film consumption within planes, often described as enclosed topological environments featuring a composite social structure dominated by a sense of transience and in-betweenness. Inflight distribution has developed as a crucial stage for the global circulation of hundreds of cinematic titles, as well as a highly-lucrative niche market. First and foremost, such a unique receptive frame implies questions of physical and cultural mobility. Consequently, the study is based on a multivariable data-oriented analysis, conducted on the onboard videocatalogues of five European full-service carriers. The findings derived from comparative assessments indicate that inflight cinema became a sign of the times of civil aviation mainly due to its disruptive role for differentiation among companies. In detailing this, tensions between local and global stances have necessarily to be taken into account. Given that the same aggregation of contents may be regarded as a process of branding, the exaltation of various geographies, both on a suvra-national and hyper-domestic level, is identified as the main factor driving the airlines within the filmic selection.




How to Cite

Rossi, E. (2019). Cine-Traffic in the Air: the Geographies of Inflight Movies from a Selection of European Airlines. Cinergie – Il Cinema E Le Altre Arti, 8(15), 129–155.