Five of the Best and Worst Airplane Movies

Yet, even bad movies have something to offer, and lesson one from "Snakes" is not to get snookered by movie hype -- or, for that matter, cheap airline ticket prices. Bag fees alone can add 50 percent or more to your total air trip cost.

Just last week, Southwest, Frontier and Hawaiian added or raised fees, so here's a tip: Do your homework before purchasing airfare. You might find an airline with higher fares is a better deal if it offers to check bags for free. Or you can do as I do, and carry everything on.

A final tip, courtesy of "Snakes on a Plane": When an airline says not to let your carry-on "pet" roam free during a flight, they mean it!

Airplane! (1980) -- Rating: ****

This flick is nearly 30 years old but it still has me chuckling. A description doesn't do it justice because there are so many sight gags and yes, there are nuns and drunks galore, making it impossible to ever again watch "Airport 75" with a straight face.

Lessons? Well, a big plot turn centers on food poisoning, which means it's actually a good thing that most of the airlines don't feed us anymore -- so my tip is to pack your own sandwiches/snacks, and bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the fountain after security.

Casablanca (1942) -- Rating: *****

Even a sometime cynic like me can't help but fall for the charms of this Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman wartime romance -- and it regularly makes those "best movies of all time" lists. Nothing more to say, except -- if you haven't seen it, rent it.

So what do we learn? Well, there are those "letters of transit," vital for our main characters to move freely in and out of Morocco. Think passports and the movie teaches us to hang on to them. Carry them in a place that provides a degree of difficulty for pickpockets.

Tip: Remember that these days, U.S. travelers visiting Mexico or Canada by air, land, and sea need passports (or other approved documents).

Finally, wondering where the plane is in "Casablanca"? Well, the main airplane would be the one in the background as Rick and Ilsa say their wrenching goodbyes at the airport. Problem is, a real plane wouldn't fit on the soundstage, so what you see is a small model made of plywood, its flaws disguised by fog machines. Pixar it wasn't, but hey, it worked!

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site FareCompare.com offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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