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Fasten your seatbelt: Airport films, shows are taking off

A drunk pleads for another nip. A granny can't find her false teeth. Newlyweds show up in a tux and wedding dress. Football hooligans swear and terrorize those around them. Money is lost. Passports go missing. Purses are stolen. Somebody's having a nervous breakdown.

Another day at the bar? No, another day at the airport.

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This summer promises to be the busiest air travel season since 9/11, and with it arrives a jet stream of aviation-related films and shows:

The Terminal - The Steven Spielberg film, opening June 18, has Tom Hanks as a Balkan immigrant in New York's Kennedy Airport. A war breaks out, erasing his country from the map. His visa voided, Hanks is unable to go back home, yet unable to enter the United States.

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Airline - A&E; Network has given wing to a second season of this reality series, chronicling the highs and lows of passengers on Southwest Airlines at LAX and Chicago Midway airports. A new season of 18 half-hour episodes takes flight July 5.

LAX - NBC is hoping for mile-high ratings this fall with this new drama starring Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood. Set in the airport's international terminal, the show will feature story lines peppered with security breaches, tearful reunions, illegal immigrants, runaway animals, drug busts and drunken pilots.

The Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best - It's The Apprentice at 35,000 feet. Fox is preparing a new reality series centering on Richard Branson, global adventurer and founder/chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies. Branson, who formed Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, will test young entrepreneurs to see if they can follow in his footsteps. The series is tentatively scheduled to make its debut later this year.

Already Soul Plane, a comedy about an African-American-owned airline, has flown into theaters. Come December, Martin Scorsese will land his long-awaited The Aviator, a Leonardo DiCaprio flick about aviation pioneer Howard Hughes.

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.


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