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In one word?
In more than one word? Ted Striker is a retired fighter pilot, who, ever since participating in a failed mission in an unnamed war, has developed a chronic fear of flying. It's just his luck that his ex-girlfriend Elaine, whom he vows to get back, is a flight attendant about to board a plane for Chicago. Despite his anxiety, Ted purchases a ticket in a desperate attempt to win Elaine back. However, at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, things start to go haywire.
When half the passengers and both pilots suddenly fall ill with a case of food poisoning (bad fish), Ted (the only person on board with flying experience who didn't have the fish for dinner) is forced to overcome his fears and (literally) take take the controls. With assistance of Elaine, the dour Dr. Rumack, and his old military colleague Rex Kramer on the ground, Ted's able to land the plane safely.
And needless to say, he gets the girl, too.