9 of the best Christmas movies filmed at airports

Dec 24, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

We all have certain Christmas movies that we watch each year to get us in the spirit of the season. Binge-watching the classics is an integral part of the holidays for many of us. And for AV geeks, what’s better than watching a Christmas movie that was filmed in an actual airport? True, airports are not exactly known for spreading holiday cheer in real life — especially in the present day with COVID protocols adding to stress inside terminals. 

But for Hollywood, the airport has served as a key supporting player in many memorable films of the season. Here are nine of the best holiday movies with scenes filmed at airports around the world. 

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“Home Alone”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

A classic family holiday flick, “Home Alone” is the story of Kevin McCallister, the boy who doesn’t make it onto the flight to Paris for the family holiday and is left to adventure while his family tries to get back to him. All the movie’s airport scenes take place in Chicago O’Hare (ORD) — even the Paris airport portions.

“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

Kevin is at it again. In “Home Alone 2,” he mistakenly gets on a flight headed to NYC while his family heads to Florida for the holidays. This time, we get to follow Kevin on his journey through the Big Apple. The scenes in this movie are filmed at three different airports: interior shots at Chicago O’Hare and LAX and exterior shots at Miami International Airport (MIA).

“Love Actually”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

A feel-good romantic comedy, “Love Actually” looks at the complexity of love through the different stories and experiences of each character. The airport scenes in this holiday movie are filmed at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

“Ernest Saves Christmas”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

In the holiday film “Ernest Saves Christmas,” we follow Santa Claus as he travels to Florida to find his successor. He ends up on a taxi ride with Ernest, during which they continuously get into trouble, but ultimately save Christmas. The airport scenes are filmed at Orlando International Airport (MCO).

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

In the classic “Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Neal Page tries his hardest to get home to his family in time for Thanksgiving. But a huge snowstorm and other disasters ensue, wreaking havoc. To make matters worse, he is also forced to deal with the annoying Del Griffith. The airport scenes in this picture are filmed at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

“Die Hard”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

This film is guaranteed to spur passionate debate over whether or not it’s a Christmas movie. But “Die Hard” takes place on Christmas Eve and significant portion of the film focuses on a holiday party. New York City Police officer John McClane visits his estranged wife and children in L.A. and goes to his wife’s work party, where terrorists end up taking over the building and John has to save the day. The airport scenes in this film take place at LAX.

“Die Hard 2”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

Another Christmas-themed sequel, “Die Hard 2” flashes forward two years later, where John is mixed up in another terrorist plot while at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) waiting for his wife. Again, he is forced to take action. While the storyline is in Washington, DC, the actual film location was LAX.

“Four Christmases”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

When Kate and Brad realise their tropical dream holiday isn’t going to happen, they are forced to spend the Christmas holidays with their divorced families in the comedy, “Four Christmases”. But as they manoeuvre different family get-togethers, tension starts to rise in their relationship. In the opening scene, the couple is filmed at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

“Love the Coopers”

(Photo courtesy of IMDB)

Sam Cooper and his wife Charlotte gear up for their annual Christmas Eve extravaganza in “Love the Coopers.” But as they welcome their family for the holidays, news of their soon-to-be divorce gets out and they learn about the many woes of other family members. The movie was set in Pittsburgh, with scenes actually filmed at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

Bottom line

We hope this round-up was a trip down memory lane — they’re all total classics. Snuggle up, grab some popcorn and enjoy!

Featured photo by Svetikd/Getty Images.

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