George Spencer, a travelling truck salesman, catches a flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver at the last minute. Settling into his seat, he finds out from his neighbor, Dr. Baird, that it is a charter flight of Maple Leaf Airlines carrying a planeload of football fans from Toronto to Vancouver for a big game. The stewardess, Janet Benson, approaches, asking them if they want meat or fish for dinner. Both decide on meat, and fall asleep after their meal. The pilots, Dun and Pete, both opt for fish. A little while later, Janet wakes up Dr. Baird and asks him to look at a lady who is not feeling well. The doctor does so, and immediately suspects food poisoning. Upon questioning the stewardess, he finds that the food at Winnipeg was not from the airline's regular caterer, but from another firm because of the flight being delayed. While they are talking, the first officer, Pete, also takes ill, and so do a few more passengers. All of the sick people had eaten fish for dinner. Badly frightened, the captain, Dun, sets the plane on autopilot in case he too falls ill. When he faints, the doctor recollects that his neighbor, George Spencer, had flown fighter planes during the war. Summoned by Janet to the cockpit, George is stunned to see both pilots unconscious. The doctor asks him to fly the plane. George first tells him that it is impossible, as he has not flown for thirteen years, and he only flew fighters in the war, but agrees to try when he sees there is no option. Reporting in to Vancouver, George sends out a mayday call. The airport controller and Maple Leaf's local manager, Harry Burdick, are stunned by the report, but quickly swing into action. They alert the police and fire departments, and call for Paul Treleaven, Cross Canada Airlines' chief pilot, to talk to George Spencer and try to help him to land the plane. Treleaven, arriving at the airport, talks to Spencer and gives him instructions how to operate the unfamiliar aircraft. After a few scares, George, helped by Janet, gets the hang of flying the plane, and lines up to land at Vancouver, where the book moves to a thrilling climax.
This report prepared by Rohit Gangwani