powered by AFI
Mel Bakersfeld, general manager of Lincoln International Airport, is beset with problems during one of the worst snowstorms in the history of the Midwest. A disabled jet has blocked the major runway, and the auxiliary runway is too short for takeoffs in bad weather conditions, forcing Mel to call maintenance chief Joe Patroni to solve the crisis; Mel's wife, Cindy, informs him that she wants a divorce; and Tanya Livingston, the Trans Global Airlines passenger agent with whom Mel is having an affair, is distracted by the mischievous Ada Quonsett, an elderly woman who is trying to stow away on a jet to Rome. Meanwhile, the emotionally disturbed D. O. Guerrero comes on board with a bomb in a briefcase, intending to blow up the plane so that his wife, Inez, can collect on the life insurance policy he has just purchased. The jet is piloted by Mel's brother-in-law, Vernon Demerest, who has just learned that his lover, stewardess Gwen Meighen, is pregnant. Shortly after departure, he is warned that Mel and Tanya have determined that Guerrero is carrying a bomb. With Ada's help, Vernon attempts to get the briefcase, then nearly succeeds in persuading Guerrero not to open it, but Guerrero runs into the bathroom and explodes the bomb. Guerrero is blown out of the jet, Gwen suffers a serious eye injury, and the aircraft is severely crippled, but Vernon and co-captain Anson Harris manage to land on Lincoln's runway, which Patroni has just cleared. As the passengers and crew enter the terminal, Vernon's wife, Sarah, observes her husband's obvious concern for Gwen and realizes that he has been unfaithful.