Air Emergency TV Poster Image

Air Emergency



Graphic docuseries is too intense for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show offers an educational look at the causes of aircraft disasters.


Graphic computer-generated images, re-enactments, and dummies in simulators are used to re-create aircraft crashes, collisions, and emergency landings. Video footage and photos are also used when they're available. While there's never any blood or close-up shots of actual victims, they do show real corpses covered by sheets. One scene showed an actor carrying the limp body of a girl, replaying the scene of a father finding his daughter's dead body after a plane crash.

Not applicable

Cursing is rare, and the occasional use of "f--k" is bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show's TV-G rating is misleading. The graphic, realistic nature of the subject matter is much too strong for kids and should probably be previewed even for teens. Each episode documents events leading up to aircraft crashes, explosions, and other emergencies, and actors re-create the points of view of all the players, including passengers, pilots, and air traffic controllers. Interviews with survivors and family members of victims can be very sad, and dramatized scenes of passengers panicking and crying can be disturbing even for adults. On the flip side, the show offers an intriguing, in-depth look at the conclusions drawn from post-disaster investigations.

What's the story?

AIR EMERGENCY documents the events leading up to some of the most high-profile aircraft crises in recent history, including the 1999 crash of EgyptAir flight 990. Actors re-create scenes from the point of view of pilots, passengers, and ground personnel while the series offers a near minute-by-minute recount of how the emergencies played out. Interviews with survivors and victims' family and friends offer personal glances at the traumas -- both physical and emotional -- suffered by those involved in the tragedies. Computer-generated images portray crashes and offer a close look at mechanical mishaps, and video footage and photos are used when they're available. Experts weigh in with their views on contributing factors like weather, errant technology, and the professional judgment used by pilots and air traffic controllers, while investigators describe the efforts that followed each disaster.

Is it any good?


While the series rates high on the intrigue scale -- playing to many people's need for facts and reason in the face of terrible crises -- viewers need to know that much of the subject matter can be emotionally disturbing, even for adults. Dramatized scenes of passengers screaming and crying and pilots scrambling to control a diving plane are very intense, as are the realistic computer images of fiery crashes. Video footage shows aircraft wreckage falling from the sky, bodies covered by sheets, and the anguish of mourning family members.

In short, Air Emergency isn't a good choice for young viewers or for anyone who's even slightly squeamish about air travel, as it will seem to confirm nervous passengers' worst fears. Parents would be wise even to preview the show before allowing teens to watch to make sure the content won't be too upsetting for them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how aircraft industry professionals train for possible emergencies. What expertise do safety personnel, air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants have? How can they keep cool heads under pressure? How do emergency workers on the ground prepare for emergencies? Is a program like this exploiting a painful experience, or using it as a teaching tool? What's the difference? Parents may also want to discuss the statistical likelihood of experiencing such an emergency, since teens may need some reassurance, especially if they ever travel by air on their own.

TV details

Premiere date:September 3, 2003
Cast:Stephen Bogaert
Network:National Geographic Channel
TV rating:TV-G

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Kid, 8 years old May 8, 2011


love it my fav eposiod is swiss air 111.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old September 27, 2010

In-depth, detailed, accurate but disturbing at the same time!!!

I must admit, i am quite interested into disasters but though the accurate accounts, detailed re-enacts and in-depth discussions, it very disturbing even to the mature adult! The re-enact video is very good, but as you go though the story you see people screaming, praying, begging for mercy, dead people, crying children etc which gives disturbing a new meaning. One time on a holiday as we were near to our target, the plane dropped slightly but en-expectly, and i started screaming and crying cause i watched Air Emergency the day before! so unless you want to get completely and utterly spooked out and you are highly sensitive, DON'T WATCH IT!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008