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Amazing Race 33 is filming again, and using a charter plane

Amazing Race 33 is filming again, and using a charter plane
A charter plane with Amazing Race's logo lands at LAX on Sept. 16, filmed by LAX Videography and Spotting. That plane, which did not have the Amazing Race logo earlier this year, appears to be involved in TAR33's filming.

Two weeks ago, during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, CBS Entertainment senior VP Thom Sherman said eight surprising words: “Amazing Race will also be back this season.” Yes, TAR33, aka season 33 of The Amazing Race, is coming in the 2021-2022 television season.

And now it appears that The Amazing Race 33 is once again filming after suspending production in early 2020. A charter Boeing 757-200 with “The Amazing Race” painted on its side landed in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 16, and then left for London after stopping in Nova Scotia.

In June, Phil Keoghan told Joyce Eng, “we have a plan that will work in this world that we live in. But the expectation from the network is that we get Season 33 finished and then we roll into more seasons again.”

Is part of that plan using a charter airplane for all travel? The thought of The Amazing Race 2021/2022 season’s cast and crew all sharing the same airplane may, at first glance, seem like a major change. But it’s been years since airport intrigue was part of the show; for budgetary and logistical reasons, the production now pre-books flights for many legs.

A chartered plane would eliminate so much friction for the cast and crew, both in terms of health and safety right now, since that’d mean so much less contact with strangers, but also just because filming the race is an incredible logistical challenge even without a global pandemic. (For a behind-the-scenes look at just how much of a challenge it is, read my oral history of The Amazing Race.)

On Sept. 16, the YouTube account LAX Videography and Spotting posted a video of the plane landing at LAX with a caption that began with, “Very well may be one of my greatest catches ever!!”

The specific plane, which is operated by Titan Airways, has 202 seats, with three on each side of the aisle, though the middle seat can fold down into a table. Here’s a seating chart, and another for the plane if it’s configured with only two seats on each side.

Assuming 11 teams, with their camera and sound operators, that’s 44 people, but of course there are many more crew members involved—some are people hired in each location, while others travel as part of the production.

Earlier photos of that plane shows that the only thing that’s changed to the livery is the addition of The Amazing Race logo; the same plane was filmed May 1, 2021, at Manises Valencia Airport, and did not have the Amazing Race on its livery.

Where is The Amazing Race 2021/2022 season traveling to?

Thessaloniki, Greece, a possible destination for The Amazing Race 33
Thessaloniki, Greece, a possible destination for The Amazing Race 33. (Photo by Dragos Gontariu/Unsplash)

The plane is tracked by Flight Aware, PlaneFinder, and FlightRadar24, which show the following destinations:

  • LAX to Halifax Stanfield, Sept. 16
  • Halifax Stanfield to Zurich, Sept. 17
  • Zurich to London, Sept. 18

The plane has not moved since last Saturday, at least according to tracking sites—although PlaneFinder shows two flights since, but without any data.

Seven days in one location would be quite a long time for a show that films an entire season in three weeks. Did the show just use the charter plane to get to Europe, and is now traveling around Europe using ground transportation? (I cannot quite imagine chartering a plane and having the show’s logo painted on the side only to start using commercial aircraft, especially considering the risks that would introduce.) Or is it just moving around the UK during this week?

We may know more soon, as social media posts suggest the TAR33 will be in Greece on Monday.

A tweet saying TAR33 will be in Halkidiki Monday cites a Greek radio station’s website, which published a story saying the show will be filmed in Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, with the cooperation of The Central Macedonia Film Office. That radio station’s story cites a Facebook page I could not find.

Season 33 began filming in February 2020, and unconfirmed reports on social media suggest most of the same TAR33 teams are returning, though not all. That is, of course, to be expected; it’s not difficult to imagine dating relationships, work demands, or family circumstances changing in the past 18 months.

One of the teams that were filming season 33 was Love Island couple Ray and Caro, who broke up last summer.

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