The Pilots in Die Hard 2 Forget That Other Airports Exist
In Die Hard 2: Die Harder (that subtitle must never be ignored or forgotten), Dulles International Airport gets taken over by a ruthless former colonel who specializes in naked karate.
"Hey, how can we let the audience know this guy's crazy in just a single image?"
Dozens of inbound flights carrying thousands of passengers are forced to circle in an endless holding pattern, and unless his demands are met, Colonel Karateboner will use the hijacked systems at Dulles to either trick the planes into crashing or keep them in the air until they run out of fuel and nosedive into oblivion.
Or until the pilots just fly to another airport. Dulles is hardly the only airport on the East Coast -- it isn't even the only airport in D.C.
For reference, all of those red dots are airports.
Every runway from Virginia to Pennsylvania could be reached by a commercial jet within two hours. What pilot is just going to keep flying around in circles until all the fuel burns up and they drop out of the sky, incinerating himself and 500 passengers? Any responsible flight crew would start contacting other airports for clearance the instant it looked like running out of gas might become an issue.
"Let's not bother any other airports with this."
Also, the flight path of Dulles intersects with those of two other major airfields -- Reagan International Airport and Andrews Air Force Base. Any plane circling Dulles would constantly be passing in and out of the flight paths of the other two.
Doug Francis Realty
We don't actually speak Plane Map, so we're just assuming that these colorful rectangles translate roughly to "Die Hard 2 was stupid."