A full aircraft, American Pride, Flight 29, is flying out of Los Angeles International Airport at night, heading east. After take-off and the flight progresses, the passengers nod off. Dinah Bellman, a blind girl, awakens and asks her aunt for water. When she gets no… [show all]Includes Spoilers
A full aircraft, American Pride, Flight 29, is flying out of Los Angeles International Airport at night, heading east. After take-off and the flight progresses, the passengers nod off. Dinah Bellman, a blind girl, awakens and asks her aunt for water. When she gets no response, Dinah calls for help, but only Brian Engle, an airline pilot who is a passenger on this flight, awakens to Dinah's call for help. Other passengers then begin to rise up out of their seats. The mystery begins when these nine people discover they are the only ones left on the plane; not even the pilots are aboard. Brian and Nick Hopewell, a mysterious British man, discovers the plane is on autopilot.
Brian attempts to radio anyone to help, but there is no response from anyone, not even Strategic Air Command, which should never be off-air. There is no way anyone could have left the plane and put it back up in the air. Another mystery is that personal items are left where the pilots and passengers were. These personal items not only included wallets and watches, but items that would have been inside the people, like surgical pins and dental bridgework.
The other survivors introduce themselves. Bob Jenkins is a mystery writer. Laurel Stevenson is a schoolteacher on her first vacation in eight years. Albert Kaussner is a teen violinist going to music school. Bethany Simms is a teenage girl with a drug problem who is visiting her aunt to be taken to rehab. Don Gaffney is a tool-and-die worker going to visit his granddaughter. Dinah is going to Boston for an operation which she hopes will restore her vision. A businessman named Craig Toomey remains silent.
Brian takes over the plane and heads to Bangor International Airport, in Maine, an airport with less traffic and an extra long runway. He insists that going to Bangor instead of their intended destination of Boston with no radio and no visibility of the ground makes a safer zone for an emergency landing. Toomey proves to be a psychotic who is panicked about not making it to Boston, but Nick manages to quiet him down. Dinah, who apparently has psychic power, sees through Toomey's eyes and recognizes he could be a danger. After making no contact with anyone on the ground, Brian and the survivors make it to Bangor and land at the airport.
Everyone is relieved until they deboard the plane. The airport is devoid of people and automobiles and service vehicles are abandoned on the tarmac. The survivors discover the oddity of no smells in the air that should be on an airport tarmac, like fuel. Toomey begins an outrageous demand to get to Boston again and his thoughts go back to the bitter treatment he received as a child from his verbally abusive and overbearing father. Toomey's building desperation to get to Boston stems from the fact that his father used to warn him about the Langoliers: hairy, spherical creatures with razor-sharp teeth that chase down the lazy and purposeless and eat them alive.