As a birthday surprise, my then-boyfriend (now husband) rented a Piper Arrow to take me out for a flight from our home base at the time in Frederick, Maryland, to Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania, where we watched a matinee and then enjoyed dinner afterward at Fiorentino’s Italian Restaurant and Bar on the field at Lancaster.
For a hot August day, the air was surprisingly smooth and clear, a welcome change from the bumpy, hazy days of summer. After a 45-minute flight, we landed at Lancaster, tied down, and walked a mile to Penn Cinema for the 2016 movie The Legend of Tarzan. We had taken time off from work to go on my actual birthday, so it felt as if we had our own private screening as we snacked on buttery popcorn and soft drinks.
Recalling the excitement and our favorite parts of the movie on our way to Fiorentino’s, the walk seemed much shorter than on the way there. After a relaxing dinner, we flew back to Frederick. And, while we usually alternate flying legs on trips, this was one time I was perfectly content to sit back and just enjoy the entire flight as part of one special day he had planned.
We could have driven to a nice dinner and the Regal Westview theater in Frederick—it would have been much cheaper—but the flight created an experience the two of us will always remember. A rare, special treat.
We’ve since shared that experience by flying family to dinner and a movie. Now that we are in Ohio, we’ll be scouting out other airports with nearby theaters and restaurants to fly to for celebrating special events—birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day, for example—or watching aviation-related movies. (What cooler way to arrive for Top Gun: Maverick, scheduled to release in 2022?)
The theaters don’t have to be within walking distance. Once you and your significant other, family, or friends find a movie you all want to see, find an area you want to fly to and see if it has a theater in town showing that film and then research nearby restaurants. Call the airport to see if the courtesy car would be available for a few hours or if ride-sharing options such as Uber are available. Set the day or evening aside and enjoy a special treat.