We're moving Forums to the Community pages. Click here for more information and updates.


Season 1 Episode 4

Phantom Traveler

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 04, 2005 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
1,550 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A former client of Dean's calls him up when a plane crashes under mysterious circumstances. Dean and Sam must board an endangered flight to save the other passengers.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • It's A To Hell

    One of my favorite, first season episodes. A demon is possessing people, in order to crash airplanes. Our two heroes bravely (foolishly?) board a plane in order to find the demon - who is going after survivors of his previous crashes - and send him back to hell.

    This episode is the first time that we see Sam and Dean fight a demon, and, impressively, future episodes don't stray from the rules established in this, first season episode.

  • Awww, their first demon!

    I think this is the first Supernatural episode that really and truly scared me. Well, the first one not connected to a self-inflicted childhood trauma, that is. This is also the episode that has left me incapable of using public bathrooms without taking a stash of holy water with me. I think my grandmother has a bottle I could borrow.

    I'll just 'fess up right now and admit that, like Dean, I have a fear of flying. A lot of people do. I think it has less to do with the height and close quarters and more to do with the loss of control. It's the same phobia that makes it impossible for some of us to ride in the passenger seat of a car whenever someone else is driving. What makes it far worse, though, is the thought of something supernaturally going wrong on that plane ride. I may never fly the 'friendly' skies as long as I live...

    No, I exaggerate, this episode didn't scar me that deeply or anything. (Although, I have yet to get on a plane after watching it, so we'll see) But it definitely had its moments of utter terror. The story centres around a call the boys get from one of their Dad's old acquaintances (the elder Winchester is still AWOL at this point) asking for the hunter family to come down and help him with a potential case. Ends up that a very low-level demon had been possessing people who were open to its influence (Those nervous about why I'm never going into an airport unarmed again?) and then using their bodies to crash the plane whenever it was en route to its next destination, killing all the passengers and crew.

    This episode is very creepy, full of dark atmosphere of the sort that only hell's citizens can inspire in us. It is also the first exorcism that the boys perform together. But in addition to all of these things there are plenty of funny moments to balance out all of the doom and scariness. I had actual fun watching it and it's definitely one that has a good rewatchability factor to it.

    This was a great episode. It was full of humour, dark ideas, and lots of suspense. It tore out of the opening gates like a triple crown racer and never let up its pace until the end where it left you panting and high on adrenaline. It advanced the season arc of the search for John Winchester, as well as introducing vital mythos elements such as holy water and the existence of an afterlife in this universe.moreless
  • why not just call in a bomb threat?

    They're used to breaking the law and impersonating people - why not just try & get the flight cancelled? Getting on a plane you know is going to crash is pretty silly.

    Also not checking the pilots (the person most able to crash a flight) also seemed like lazy scriptwriting
  • Fear Of Heights

    Yeah... I know exactly how Dean feels. I would never set foot on a plan if I could help it. But the look on his face when the plane started to go down was priceless. He was paranoid from the plane took off. I know I shouldn't laugh at him for it, but I couldn't help myself. Anyway, a demon taking down planes???? Well, that's a new one. But it was interesting to watch the boys do an exorcism in mid-flight. Great episode!!!moreless
  • Phantom Traveler

    God, I just love this episode... I got scared and I laugh a lot with it. Seeing Dean screaming his lungs out of his body when the plane is going down is one of my favorite scenes ever in SPN.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Near the beginning, when Sam and Dean are talking, if you look close you can see Sam chewing on something. But, we never see him eat anything. It is revealed on the commentary by Jared and Jensen that they had Sam eating a donut, but they never got the donut in the shot. So, it appears that Sam is just chewing on nothing.

    • Why are none of the passengers alarmed by the shouting and snarling coming from the room the co-pilot just went into? They would definitely hear what was going on, the only thing between them is a thin curtain.

    • "Cristo" is not Latin, but the Greek Χριστός (Christós) translated as "The Annointed One". The Latin word for "God" is "deus" or "deo." Both "deus" and "deo" are heard when performing the exorcism.

    • When Sam and Dean got to the airport Sam said they had half an hour to get on the plane because the plane left at 8 PM. But earlier when they were in the car he said that it was a five-hour drive and they would never make it in time. That would make it 2:30 in the afternoon but when he said that it was dark outside.

    • The twin-engine plane had the registration number C-GBBP when it was on the ground. In flight, it was shown as C-GUTV.

    • Trivia: The song that Dean is humming to calm himself down in the plane is called "Some Kind of Monster" by Metallica.

    • If you watched the version of this episode that aired on December 13, 2005, you heard the number they showed in closed captioning for Dean's cell number. They changed it from the original airing. They also changed the message you will hear if you call the original number that John said. If you call 866-907-3235 now, you will hear "Dad? We really need to hear from you. Leave me a message, text me, check your jwinchester1246 email. Anything. We have new info. "

    • When you actually call Dean's 866 number given on this episode, you'll get the following message: "This is Dean Winchester. If this is an emergency, please leave a message. If you are calling about 11283, page me with your coordinates." 11283 is the date of Mary Winchester's death.

    • On the closed caption, they listed a different phone number with the area code 785, instead of the 866 number. The area code 785 is from Kansas, which is where the characters are originally from.

    • In the dialogue for this episode, they give an actual (toll-free) number for Dean's cell phone: 866-907-3235, rather than one of those unreal 555- numbers. However, in the closed captions they do give a 555- number, 785-555-0179. Presumably the original script, from which the caption text was derived, had the 555- number but then they changed it for the actual on-screen dialogue.

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Dean: Maybe the thing's just not on the plane.
      Sam: You believe that?
      Dean: Well, I will if you will.

    • Dean: Yeah, a middle-aged dentist with an ulcer's not exactly evil personified.

    • Sam: Homeland Security. It's pretty illegal, even for us.
      Dean: Yeah, well, it's something new. You know, people haven't seen it a thousand times.

    • Sam: You've been in there forever.
      Dean: You can't rush perfection.

    • Sam: What is that?
      Dean: It's an EMF meter. It reads electromagnetic frequencies.
      Sam: Yeah, I know what an EMF meter is. But why does that one look like a busted-up Walkman?
      Dean: (proudly) Because that's what I made it out of. It's homemade.
      Sam: Yeah, I can see that.

    • Dean: What time is it now?
      Sam: Oh about 5:45.
      Dean: In the morning?!?
      Sam: Yup.
      Dean: (sarcastically) Where does the day go?

    • Sam: Yeah, he told me. It was a poltergeist?
      Co-Worker: Poltergeist? Man, I love that movie!
      Jerry: Hey, no one's talking to you. Keep walkin'.

    • Demon in co-pilot's body: (speaking to Sam) I know what happened to your girlfriend! She must have died screaming! Even now, she's burning!

    • Dean: This is going to sound nuts, but we just don't have time for "The Truth Is Out There" speech right now...

    • Dean: Sam, this plane is going to crash, okay? So quit treating me like I'm freakin' four!
      Sam: You need to calm down.
      Dean: Well, I'm sorry, I can't!
      Sam: Yes, you can.
      Dean: Dude, stow the touchy-feely, self-help-yoga crap. It's not helping!

    • (Dean is being fidgety on the plane)
      Sam: Just try to relax.
      Dean: (through clenched teeth) Just try to shut up!

    • Sam: Are you okay?
      Dean: No, not really.
      Sam: Why? What's wrong?
      Dean: Uh, I kind of have this problem with...
      (moves his hand in a plane motion)
      Sam: Flying?
      Dean: It's never really been an issue until now.
      Sam: You're joking, right?
      Dean: Do I look like I'm joking?!? Why do you think I drive everywhere, Sam?!

    • Sam: Never? You're never afraid?
      Dean: No, not really. (Sam pulls a long knife out from under Dean's pillow) That's not fear. That's precaution.

    • Dean: When's the last time you got a good night sleep?
      Sam: I don't know. A little while I guess. It's not a big deal.
      Dean: Yeah, it is!
      Sam: Look I appreciate your concern...
      Dean: Oh, I'm not concerned about you. It's your job to keep my ass alive! So I need you sharp.

    • Dean: Did you get any sleep last night?
      Sam: Yeah, I got a couple of hours.
      Dean: You're a liar. See, I was up at 3 and you were watching the George Foreman infomercial.
      Sam: What can I say, it's riveting TV.

    • Sam: If she's possessed, she'll flinch at the name of God.
      Dean: Uh, nice.
      Sam: Hey?
      Dean: What?
      Sam: Say it In Latin.
      Dean: I know!
      Sam: Hey?
      Dean: What?!?
      Sam: Uh, in Latin it's "Cristo."
      Dean: Dude, I know! I'm not idiot!

    • Sam: You humming Metallica?
      Dean: Calms me down.

    • Dean: I look like one of the Blues Brothers.
      Sam: No you don't . You look more like a seventh grader at his first dance.

  • NOTES (8)

    • According to Supernatural: The Official Companion - Season 1, the EMF meter built by prop master Chris Cooper was actually made out of a real Walkman, as Dean states in the episode.

    • International Airdates:
      Denmark: January 29, 2006 on TV3
      France: December 11, 2006 on TF6
      Italy: March 6, 2007 on RaiDue
      Portugal: October 30, 2007, on AXN
      Germany: November 5, 2007 on ProSieben
      Netherlands: July 27, 2008 on Net 5

    • "A Day in the Life of Jensen and Jared", featured in Season 2's bonus features on the boxset, shows both actors going into the trailer to record the commentary for this episode. Jared Padalecki jokingly points out that it was filmed about six months previously, something which made a detailed commentary difficult.

    • This was the last episode aired in The Netherlands.

    • Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles do the commentary on this episode for the Season 1 DVD.

    • The airport terminal where Sam and Dean are boarding the flight to exorcise the demon, is actually the terminal Jared and Jensen fly out of when they go back to Los Angeles.

    • Sam and Dean make reference to Flight 401, which crashed and parts were re-used in other planes. Afterwards, sightings of the pilot and co-pilot's ghosts were reported. They are referring to the real-life Eastern Airlines Flight 401, which crashed in the Everglades on 12/29/72. The story was documented in the book The Ghost of Flight 401, by John G. Fuller. His book was made into a TV movie in 1978.

    • Music: Paranoid (Black Sabbath), Working Man (Rush)


    • Dean: All right, this is gonna sound nuts, but we just don't have the time for the whole the-truth-is-out-there speech so...
      Referring to The X-Files, which ran from 1993 to 2002. "The Truth is Out There" is the phrase shown at the end of the opening credits, and is basically the motto for the whole show.

    • Dean: This goes way beyond floating over a bed or barfing pea soup.
      Referring to the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist, in which a young girl is possessed by a demon. The movie was written by William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the novel it was based upon.

    • Office Worker: Loved that movie!
      Stated after Dean and Sam talk about poltergeists, and referencing the movie 1982 movie Poltergeist directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Steven Spielberg, about a family who is haunted by a host of ghosts.

    • Dean: Hi, This is Dr. James Hetfield. from St. Francis Memorial Hospital.
      James Hetfield is the lead singer of Metallica. Dean was humming Metallica on the plane to calm himself down.

    • Dean: Man, I look like one of the Blues Brothers.
      Referencing the hit movie The Blues Brothers, which starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. They played two brothers who wore black suits for most (if not all) of the movie.