On a maiden flight with Coastal Airlines, the Starquest airliner program introduces the most sophisticated and enjoyable flying experience to date, with pilot Joseph Franklin (Scott Valentine) in charge. Special Agent Gina Vitale (Lindsey McKeon) is on the flight to protect Franklin, who is also the President's brother. At Franklin's house, two thugs break in, kill the housekeeper and abduct his wife and children. A group of 10 neo-Nazis, who have sneaked guns onto the flight, force their way into the cockpit, killing the navigator. Agent Vitale makes it into the cargo hold and is able to contact her home base. Robert Stevens (Geoff Meed), the leader of the assault, forces the pilot to contact his sister, President Harriet Franklin (Meredith Baxter) and demands that 10 of his Argus Aryan Brotherhood be released.
A group of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters tail the hijacked airliner, but one of them is destroyed in a fuel dump. When the autopilot malfunctions, the airliner plunges to the earth before pulling out of the dive just above a city. Willie (Amir Wilker) brings a flight attendant to the cargo hold, but encounters Vitale, who kills him. Other terrorists shoot a flight attendant, thinking she is the sky marshal. When the President does not release the "brothers", Robert shoots another flight attendant.
With a FBI SWAT team at the isolated cabin where Joe Franklin's family is held, in the White House, President Franklin gives the command to initiate "Kittyhawk", a secret system that can remotely control aircraft from a satellite. Just when the airliner goes out of control, the President realizes she must make a momentous decision, choosing between her family and the safety of the people in the cities below.
In the cargo hold, when Robert reveals that the skyjacking is a ruse for a bank heist, he is confronted by Vitale and chooses to trigger an explosion that not only kills him but results in the cargo door slicing off a jet engine. With the Starquest plummeting out of control and heading for Washington, the order to shoot it down results in the pursuing jet fighters being ineffective when the airliner's automated defense systems are triggered.
Finally acting to protect the passengers, the Sky Marshal (Peter Smith) is killed, but Vitale shoots the terrorists and takes back control of the Starquest. With the Franklin family rescued, the President resorts to a last-ditch attempt to down the aircraft. Using a new and unpredictable satellite-based laser results in taking out one of the trailing F-22 Raptors. She tells her brother to do the only thing left, pilot the Starquest to a water landing on the Potomac River, at Chesapeake Bay.
John Willis III (credited as John "Jay"' Willis III) made his directorial debut after a lengthy career as an cinematographer, electrician, gaffer and film crew member.
Airline Disaster was released domestically on DVD on May 3, 2011, and internationally, on December 1, 2011. The DVD came with a "behind-the-scenes" film.
On its release on Blu-ray, in a searing indictment of Airline Disaster, reviewer Martin Liebman, described the film as the epitome of "... epically bad and lazy movies". He further stated: "Unacceptable. Insulting. Unbelievable. 'Disaster' aptly describes this mind-boggling junk heap of a movie that's awful even by The Asylum's low standards."