Follow TV Tropes


Oceanic Airlines

Go To

A form of Fictional Counterpart specific to airlines.

Quite often, when a story calls for a plane crash, an in-flight incident, or some other misfortune to happen to a passenger plane or airline service, Hollywood (and sometimes other media) decides to name the service Oceanic Airlines. Naturally, real airline services wouldn't want to associate with these stories, since it would imply to the audiences that their service is unreliable (and can result in Unfortunate Implications or wind up Harsher in Hindsight if a story turns out to be similar to a real-life incident with a particular airline). Nevertheless, it's bizarre, almost uncanny, that Oceanic Airlines keeps popping up in totally unrelated stories.

Part of this is due to Prop Recycling and Stock Footage: for the film Executive Decision, a pair of Boeing 747s were painted up in the livery of a fictional airline, Oceanic Airways. The aerial shots were reused in other works (because putting a pair of planes in the air just to film one of them in flight is expensive), and the planes themselves saw use in later films. From there, a tradition was born.

The airline became most famous for its usage on the series Lost, in which the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 kicks off the plot. In this, Oceanic was given its own unique logo, livery, and various other elements to make it seem like an actual airline. A Viral Marketing campaign by the show's creators treated the airline as if it was real, creating a website with an immersive fictional backstory, TV ads, and even a phone number, all of which provided clues for fans of the show.

The same thing is done with the now real shipping company "Pacific Courier," which brought the terrorists in a truck to the Nakatomi Building in Die Hard, had one of their trucks blown up along with Bonwit Teller in Die Hard with a Vengeance, and one of their planes destroyed by the bus explosion in Speed.

Compare Brand X and Alan Smithee.


    open/close all folders 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The establishing example (though not actually the oldest — see Flipper under Live-Action TV below) is the 1996 film Executive Decision, about a team of commandos (and Kurt Russell) performing an in-flight infiltration of an airliner that has been hijacked by terrorists intent on using it to attack Washington, DC. Aerial footage from this film was reused in other films and TV shows as a cost-saving measure, causing Oceanic Air to get plenty of free PR.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A recurring motif on shows created or co-created by J. J. Abrams:
    • Alias: An Oceanic Airlines flight to Sydney was mentioned in passing.
    • Fringe has an ad for Oceanic.
    • An Oceanic plane crash kicks off Lost. This revitalised modern usage of the trope by way of a Shout-Out.
  • An early episode of Chuck mentions Oceanic Flight 815 being shot down in passing.
  • Flash Forward: An Oceanic Airlines ad appeared during the pilot episode.
  • The earliest mention of the airline comes from the Flipper two-part episode "The Ditching", originally broadcast on October 30 and November 6, 1965. Sandy and Flipper fly aboard Oceanic Airlines Flight 17 (a Douglas DC-3 instead of the jet planes the airline usually operates), which naturally crashes into the sea.
  • In The Goldbergs episode "Smother's Day", Murray gives Adam Oceanic Airline tickets to Houston.
    • They also fly Oceanic in "Airplane!", this time to Miami.
  • JAG: An Oceanic Airlines flight to Seoul gets hijacked (how typical) by South Korean radicals in 5th season episode "The Bridge at Kang So Ri". Luckily enough our heroes take care of the situation.
  • The X-Files, "Synchrony": Agents Mulder and Scully search the hotel room of the mysterious old guy who seems to have come from the future. Scully finds a note pad in his room. There are the words "Pan Oceanic flight #1701" written on it.

    Video Games 
  • In Dead Island, planes occasionally fly overhead. The one from Oceanic Airlines, naturally, sends a distress signal shortly before crashing onto the island.
  • In Microsoft Flight Simulator X, one of the fictitious airlines you can control is named "Oceana Airlines", possibly as a Shout-Out from this trope.
  • In The Wolf Among Us, an Oceanic advertisement is seen on the roof of a taxi.

    Web Comics 
  • Derelict: Dang comes across a crashed passenger jet that is sporting an Oceanic Airlines logo.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation