Gatwick launches ‘altitude-optimised’ popcorn

The new 'altitude-optimised' popcorn from Gatwick

London Gatwick has appointed Mark Kermode as its first official film critic

·         Flyers can pick up ‘altitude-optimised’ umami-flavoured popcorn at the airport

·         51% of Brits claim watching films is one of the main perks of long-distance travel

With more than half of Brits (51 per cent) believing that binging on movies is one of the biggest perks of long-haul travel, Gatwick Airport is launching a new initiative to make the in-flight movie experience extra special for flying film fans this autumn.

Mark Kermode has been appointed as the airport’s first official film critic and has produced a handy brochure for passengers, critiquing the in-flight movie selections of airlines flying from Gatwick.

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Mark Kermode said:

Watching movies is one of the greatest pleasures of flying – the perfect time to catch up on the latest releases or revisit old favourites. Even long-haul journeys can fly by if you pick the right film, whether it’s a tear-jerker, action adventure or rom-com. As someone who has spent hundreds of hours watching in-flight movies, it’s been great fun teaming up with Gatwick to look at the films on offer to passengers this autumn.”

Alongside Kermode’s guide, the airport has created ‘altitude-optimised’ popcorn, which will be available for passengers to pick up in the terminal and enjoy above the clouds. The popcorn is flavoured with toasted cheese, Marmite and goats cheese – all foods which are rich in umami, the only one of the five main taste sensations which is completely unaffected by altitude.

Kermode’s brochure – which advises passengers on the films that will relax them, keep them awake or even encourage them to shed a few tears while they’re on-board – follows research by Gatwick that shows one in six Brits (16 per cent) find watching films on a plane is more emotionally intense than watching at home or at the cinema.

With more than one in ten Brits (11 per cent) admitting to having cried at a film on a plane, it appears that men are more emotional in-flight movie-watchers than women – a sixth (16 per cent) confessed to being more likely to sob while watching a movie in the air than on the ground, compared with just six per cent of females.

Dr Emily Grossman, Human Biologist, said:

There are many reasons why our emotions may feel heightened on a flight and one of the most interesting is a possible physiological link between altitude and emotion. Some believe that the slight reduction in oxygen levels at high altitude might affect the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, thus altering our mood and potentially making some of us more susceptible to feelings of sadness. Altitude can certainly make us feel more tired, which is known to decrease our ability to be able to manage negative emotions, perhaps explaining our reduced threshold for tears.”

In spite of their potential to make some of us weep, in-flight movies are the favoured means of entertainment on long-haul flights for the majority of Brits (52 per cent). Many passengers are also using the opportunity to enjoy a ‘Jet-flicks’ binge, with 54 per cent revealing the only time they would watch two or more films back-to-back is while on-board a plane.

Given the heightened emotions involved, it’s perhaps unsurprising that comedy is the favourite on-board film genre of the majority of Brits (51 per cent). This is followed by action movies (34 per cent) and dramas (32 per cent) – although not everyone chooses to watch what they necessarily want to, as one in five Brits (20 per cent) admit to avoiding certain movies on flights that they would normally watch at home to prevent embarrassment.

In-flight movie-watching is also considered a sociable experience by a number of Brits, with a third (30 per cent) claiming they like to watch the same film as their travel companion at the same time so they can enjoy it together.  

Gatwick Terminal Operations Manager Wayne Tomlinson said:

 “Long-haul flights give passengers a near unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in some great films, uninterrupted by modern technology or other distractions. By working with Mark Kermode, one of the biggest names in the film industry, we’re excited to offer passengers a comprehensive and unrivalled guide to their in-flight movie options before they head off on their travels all around the world from Gatwick.”


Top 10 movies to watch on-board a flight*:




The Hangover


Meet the Parents


The Shawshank Redemption


Jason Bourne


Forrest Gump


Groundhog Day


Bridget Jones’s Diary


Pretty Woman


Slumdog Millionaire

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