Can everyone guess where I am right now, and what I'm doing? I'm very thankful that the New Orleans airport has free wireless available while I wait for an airplane crew to show up for my flight, so I can return to sunny Austin. In the meantime, I have a laptop and Internet access and a stack of DVDs to watch. I am prepared. I can watch movies indefinitely if necessary, especially if I can get Hulu or Netflix's Watch Instantly cranked up.
I have a few suggestions for packing / purchasing / (legally) downloading movies to watch on your laptop or other device in an airport or on a plane. Pick at least one or two movies that are old familiar favorites. Sometimes when you're stuck in a terminal with poor food choices, a "comfort movie" can be your very best friend. In addition, I find it difficult to listen clearly to movies on an airplane or even in a noisy terminal (you don't want the sound too loud, so you can hear updates on your flight's delay), so it's best to pick something where you already know what's going on and don't need to catch every last nuance of dialogue. Big goofy action films and physical comedies have an advantage over talkier films where you have to pay attention.
In compiling this list of specific recommendations, I tried to avoid the overwhelmingly obvious choices for watching movies in airports -- personally, I don't want to watch disaster films at times like this, or even spoofs of disaster films like that timeless comedy Airplane. The Terminal and Snakes on a Plane also a little too close for comfort. I thought instead of lighter fare, with scenes that emphasized the fantasy world of airline travel, good or bad, and the magic of escapism. Next time, I'm tucking a few of these in my laptop bag myself.