A 747 travelling from Athens to Washington DC is hijaked by a group of terrorists. They claim it's to force the government to release their leader, but covert intelligence man David Grant (Kurt Russell) doesn't believe it.
He tries to persuade the authorities to keep the plane out of US airspace while a rescue mission is put together. This mission involves the use of a high tech plane specifically designed for mid-air crew transfers. With Grant, they make it aboard the 747 only to find that they must overpower the terrorists and disable a bomb with enough nerve gas to knock out all of Washington DC below.