Everyone knows that the best time to break up with someone is in the days leading up to Christmas since they won't see it coming and being blindsided is always the best way to handle a breakup.
For Laura (Callie Thorne) her breakup is a blessing since she didn't know that she was dating serial killer Ryan Weaver (Ray Liotta) and he, too, is blindsided when the authorities bust down Laura's front door.
When there's a knock at Teri Halloran's door (Lauren Holly) she's expecting her fiance' but finds one of his co-workers at the door. She finds out that she was dumped through a friend and as she works the New York to Los Angeles Christmas Eve flight, she walks past her Senior Flight Attendant Maggie (Catherine Hicks) showing off her bare ring finger.
Maggie wants to know more, but Teri doesn't feel like talking, plus they've just found out that the passenger list has increased to eleven. The six new passengers include prisoners Weaver and bank robber Stubbs (Brendan Gleeson) along with four handlers.
Weaver takes an active interest in Teri and for awhile flirts with her, which she finds flattering during her heartache.
When Stubbs has to go to the bathroom, he manages to unscrew the faucet and kill his escorts, which starts a shootout in the cabin. Weaver's agents are killed along with Captain Matt Powell (J. Kenneth Campbell).
Sensing trouble, First Officer Ted Kary (James MacDonald) rushes out of his seat, putting the plane into auto pilot, but, they've encountered a bad storm and the plane lurches which causes him to hit his head and become unconscious.
Weaver takes control of the passengers and tries to calm them down and he goes up to the flight deck where he finds Ted and kills him.
He tells Teri that Ted said that they should be landing in a few minutes and when Teri realizes that the plane isn't descending, she goes to the flight deck. She discovers Ted missing and later finds his dead body.
As the TCA Crisis Center try to raise the plane, the plane is rocked by some turbulence and Teri's heel hits a switch and those on the ground are relieved that someone has responded.
Weaver rounds up the passengers and remaining crew and locks them up in the crew bunker, with the exception of Maggie. He plans on killing her after he tells her about her miserable life (even though she's just told Teri that shes starting to find herself after two failed marriages).
When Teri finally makes contact with Rachel Taper (Rachel Ticotin) she tells them of the deaths and Weaver and they call in Detective Aldo Hines (Hector Elizondo) who was instrumental in capturing Weaver. He joins the crisis center team at the airport.
Hines tells Teri not to listen to Weaver, but Weaver convinces her that Maggie is injured and she needs Teri to help her. When she leaves the flight deck, she doesn't know where the others are and during a spike in turbulence, Maggie's lifeless body falls from an overhead compartment.
Teri manages to get back to the flight deck and reports about Maggie and with the help of Captain Sam Bowen (Ben Cross) she's going to land the plane manually since Ryan's been causing damage to the plane.
After a physical fight between Teri and Ryan, she finds out that he plans on killing her and then crashing the plane somewhere in the Pacific, but Teri finds strength within herself and is able to start landing the plane.
But there's one problem.
Due to being too low, the wheels crash through the top floor of a hotel bar, where the Christmas party is hopping and after destroying the roof, a truck now becomes a stowaway.
One plan is to shoot down the plane over the ocean, but after another fight with Weaver, Teri decides that she wants to live and brings the plane down safely with the help of Captain Bowen (and possibly a new love interest).
Even though Teri's Christmas started off bad, she at least had on the job training as a pilot which she could add onto her resume.
This is a fun movie and had Liotta not been cast as the psycho Ryan Weaver (a role which he seems to be having way too much fun in) I doubt this Die Hard in the sky would have been as successful as it was.
So the question is: is this a Chistmas or disaster movie?