The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 18

The Odyssey of Flight 33

Aired Unknown Feb 24, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

Global Flight 33 is flying from Londo to New York, Captain Farver commanding a flight crew of four other men. They are flying normally and planning the approach to Idlewild Airport when Farver notices a strange sensation of acceleration. The plane starts to pick up ground speed from a mysterious tailwind, even though their air speed remains constant. As the head stewardess, Janie, checks in, they continue to accelerate to 3000 knots. They're unable to contact any tower on the ground.

Janie tells her co-worker Paula to reassure the crew and put on a calm face. One passenger, a British RAF pilot, notices the same sensation of acceleration. Farver and his men are still trying to contact the ground when the plane suddenly vibrates and there's a flash of light outside. They slow down and try to establish contact with the ground, while wondering if they somehow broke the sound barrier. With fuel running low and nobody on the ground answering their calls, Farver orders them down below the clouds for an aerial look. Despite the danger if they emerge into another plane's flight path, the crew take Flight 33 down. There are no aircraft... and no New York City. The buildings, and the eight million people, have all disappeared. As they continue overhead, they spot something on the ground: a dinosaur.

Realizing they've traveled back in time, Farver orders them back up into the tailwind in the hopes they can retrace their path through time. They accelerate again and there's the same flash of light and vibration. They slip back beneath the clouds and see a welcome sight: the New York City skyline. With fuel running low, they finally manage to contact La Guardia tower. The tower control officer doesn't recognize their call sign, seems puzzled by their references to radar and jet liners, and orders them to the CAA office, the old name of the FAA. As they make their final approach, the crwe spot something to the side: the New York World's Fair. They realize that they didn't come back far enough, and now they are in 1939. They can't risk landing in 1939 and Farver has no choice but to order them back into the tailwind for one more try. As they go, he contacts the passengers and informs them of the situation... and asks them to pray.