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On a flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) tells Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), the lady in the seat next to him, how much he hates flying. Midway across the Atlantic, while everyone is sleeping, he receives cryptic messages on his cell phone from an anonymous person saying someone on the plane is going to be killed every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to an offshore bank account.
Curiously, the account number given to Bill to transfer the money to is in his name. When Bill finds a bomb on the plane, he realizes he's being set up. While the rest of the plane tunes into the news for updates, it's reported that Bill is hijacking the plane. In a deadly face off with the fighter squad, Bill tries to protect himself along with the rest of the passengers on the plane.