Harrison Ford went before the MPAA and appealed to have the movie re-rated to PG-13, but they refused. The attempt was apparently inspired by the successful appeal to re-rate Clear and Present Danger (1994), also starring Ford.
The usual Air Force One is one of two modified Boeing 747-200s. To represent it, the filmmakers rented and repainted a Boeing 747-146, which had originally belonged to Japan Air Lines, from the cargo carrier American International Airways (AIA). The paint job cost $300,000. The 747s pilot, Paul Bishop, also came from AIA. See also the goofs entry.
On the DVD commentary for the movie, director Wolfgang Petersen noted that he likely would not have made the film after the 9/11 attacks. The film features hijackers who seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he (an ex-soldier) works from hiding to defeat them.
On the DVD commentary if Harrison Ford did not want to play the lead role then Arnold Schwarzenegger, Keanu Reeves and Dennis Quaid would be the other choices to play the lead role. Others considered include Tom Hanks, John Malkovich and Tommy Lee Jones|