Question: Why did Kyle Pratt kill Carson, instead of sparing his life, running to either the cargo door or passenger door, showing the people her daughter, telling them he was the hijacker? He appears to have injured his leg after he fell down in the restroom, He was further away from both of the doors than Kyle, And she probably would gotten to one of them before him, because he wouldn't have been able to move fast to get to either of the doors before her. And then he would have gotten arrested, because then the people would have realised that he had deceived them. And his charismatic and manipulative would have no longer helped him.

New this month Question: I realised a couple problems with Carson's plan. I understand that he murdered her husband by pushing him off the roof so he could hide the explosives in the casket, and that once Kyle and Julia boarded the plane and fell asleep, he could kidnap Julia, and Kyle would have a reason to open the casket. The first thing I don't understand is how did he get Kyle's husband to come onto roof? What if a different person came onto the roof instead? Or what if multiple people came onto the roof? The second thing I don't understand is how did he know Kyle would decide to leave Germany and bury her husband's body in New York? What if she decided to store her husband's body somewhere and deal with it later? Or what if she decided to bury it in Germany instead?

New this week Answer: Carson was a member of a conspiracy, not the sole person who planned and executed the entire plot. His cohorts, which included the funeral director, carried out the first phases by murdering Kyle's husband, then the mortician assisted Kyle in making the arrangement to transport the casket back to the USA. It is not important to the plot to show exactly how and by whom Kyle's husband was thrown off the roof. We only need to know that he was murdered as part of the plan. Kyle's specific travel arrangements would be relayed to Carson who could then get himself assigned as the air marshal on her flight so he could carry out the final stage of the plan.


Question: After reading what really happened, I am still not understanding why they killed her husband. Did he know something that he should not have known? I do understand the need for his coffin to hide the bombs...now why did they need to take her daughter as a 'hostage' for the sake of the $50 million dollars?

Chosen answer: If there's no dead husband, there's no coffin to hide a bomb in. Without the daughter's disappearance, Kyle won't have reason to unlock the coffin (only she knew the code; the terrorists didn't). When the captain initially refuses to have the hold searched, the marshal suggests it would be a good idea for him to take Kyle down there and look. This would be for the purpose of having her open the coffin, and allowing him to access the bomb.

Question: What about the morgue director? Was he in on it with Carson?


Chosen answer: At the end of the movie, the police ask Kyle to look at a photo to ID the morgue director. So he was in on it. He had to be because Gene/Carson didn't have the code to open the casket. Therefore he could not have put the explosives into the casket. Remember he needed Kyle to leave it open on the plane.

Question: At the very beginning of the movie, Kyle sits on the bench alone in the empty subway station. She looks very shocked or frightened. Why is that? Because at that time, her husband David is not dead. He walks up to Kyle and they get on the yellow subway train home.

Bunch Son

Chosen answer: It's never explained. She might have been concerned about something at work or there were problems with her marriage that she is contemplating. Personally, I attribute it partly to Jodi Foster's acting style. She tends to play scenes in an overly intense manner.


Question: At the end of the movie, when they are at the tip of the plane, Jodi and her daughter slip into a tiny compartment, just as she activates the bomb. She and her daughter are safe, and the small space they were in must have been bomb-proof. Since that compartment is at a part of the plane that is rarely visited, how come a tiny place was made entirely bomb-proof? Or what was the space they climbed into and for what reason was it made?

Chosen answer: The Hatch they climb into is the hold of the plane, i.e., the section with the coffin, the car, and all the other luggage in. It only appears small because of the way it is filmed. As Kyle would have known, it would have been extra strong and reinforced, as it was a break in two sections of the plane.

Question: Why did Kyle want to sit in the courtyard with her husband at the beginning? She looked quite serious. What is the significance?

Bunch Son

Chosen answer: There's no explanation, but there seems to be some sort of tension or discord going on between them that may be putting some strain on their marriage. They may have wanted a more private place to discuss something where they knew their daughter could not overhear. They also acted this way when they're in the subway station, communicating that all is not right between them.


Question: Spoiler: How did Kyle work out that Carson was the terrorist?

Chosen answer: When the captain angrily described the terrorist plans to Kyle as he deboarded, she put that together with everything else that happened.

James King III

Question: Are the Arab men in the plane the same men Kyle saw through the window of her house in Berlin the night before? If so, is it a coincidence?

Chosen answer: No, they are not the same. She was jumping to a politically incorrect assumption they were involved.


Question: Shouldn't the Arab man have been arrested for assault?


Chosen answer: Kyle assaulted HIM first when she jumped on top of him and scratched his face so technically she should be arrested.


Question: If Carson's plan indicated he was smarter than Kyle, given the way it was set up, then why did it fail? I know Kyle worked out he was a terrorist, what I don't get is what made her eventually become suspicious of him. What Carson arrogant or something? Did he make mistakes in his plan, if so what? What mistakes did he make that made his plan fail?

Chosen answer: This was a conspiracy involving a number of people, so it was not Carson's plan alone. Any plan, no matter how well plotted, will have flaws and unexpected variables. Kyle didn't suspect Carson until the very end when she was talking to the captain, who thought she was a terrorist extorting money. Not every detail of how she fully realised Carson's involvement is explained, but when Kyle saw she was being framed, and as Carson nervously attempted to leave the plane, knowing the plan was unraveling, Kyle cobbled together various clues and made an accurate assumption that Carson had been orchestrating the events during the flight.


Question: What's the significance of the scene where Carson and Stephanie look at each other when she's running away from the plane? I can't find an explanation.

Chosen answer: I think it just solidifies the fact that they were working together, and both knew the plan was starting to fall apart at that point. She's now running to try and protect herself.


Question: What was the purpose of kidnapping her daughter? Was it to make Kyle look crazy? Or was it merely for the purpose of trying to make her open the casket? Because I find that very hard to believe.

Chosen answer: The endgame was to get Kyle to open the casket during a search for her daughter. That is where the explosives and the detonator were hidden. They were counting on a frantic mother searching in every possible place on the plane for her daughter, including her husband's casket. If she hadn't done that on her own, no doubt Carson would have somehow propelled her into doing it.


Question: How did the hijackers know who Kyle was in the first place? Kyle doesn't appear to have known them prior to meeting them on the plane so how did they know Kyle was an engineer and that David was her husband and that Julia was her daughter prior to killing her husband?

Chosen answer: Carson was not the sole person who engineered the plot. There were others involved, and Carson would have been given the necessary information about Kyle in order to carry out his part of the plan.


Question: Since when does the FBI have jurisdiction and operations in Canada?

Chosen answer: They don't have jurisdiction but they would be working in cooperation with Canadian authorities.


Question: Several questions. 1. What was Carson's relationship to Stephanie? They obviously knew each other. 2. Why didn't Carson ask the morgue director for the code? It would have been much easier. 3. The plane is to escape, but would they really allow an air marshall to just stroll on the plane even if his plan was successful? And how would he get Stephanie on? 4. Was Carson enjoying himself with his convoluted plan? He wants $50 million, but there are so many easier ways to get that such as robbing a bank.

Chosen answer: 1. They appeared to be lovers. 2. I would classify this as a plot hole. However, if he had done that, there would be no movie. This a literary device known as a "suspension of disbelief." That is, the audience just accepts that certain aspects of the plot are unrealistic so the story can be told. 3. It is highly unlikely Carson would be allowed to stroll onto the plane. It was not revealed how he intended to get Stephanie aboard, but he could not leave her behind. 4. There's no way of knowing if Carson was enjoying himself. Yes, he could rob a bank, but he has no experience doing that. He is utilizing his knowledge and expertise as an air marshal to execute a complicated plan that places him in the center of what is happening, giving him some control over how events unfold. Carson has created an atypical scenario and knows the police cannot respond as if it was an everyday bank robbery. Also, successful bank robberies typically result in a relatively small amount of money being stolen, not $50 million.


Question: How could the conspirators possibly imagine that their plot would work? Their confidence that none of over 400 passengers might happen at some point to fix on Kyle and her daughter, perhaps even have a whole conversation with them, either at the gate or on the plane, seems unwarranted. They had to have been awfully sure that no one would notice them boarding at the call for passengers with small children. They had to assume that once the plane had leveled off that the girl wouldn't spend half an hour traipsing tirelessly up and down the aisle dragging her bear along and saying hi to everyone. And then there's the coffin. When Kyle did open the coffin, it made no sense that she did! So how in the blazing sun would the plotters have expected that she would do that at some point?

Chosen answer: They most likely would have had contingency plans in place. For example, if the conspirators saw someone talking to Kyle, they'd interrupt to distract that person. Or initiate their plan earlier if the daughter started getting noticed. Of course, since the script didn't call for any of these contingency plans, we can only speculate. And they basically manipulated Kyle into opening the coffin.


Question: I get how no one saw the child get on the plane. But how did no one see the kidnappers take her and put her under the plane, not even crew members?

Chosen answer: Carson told Kyle that he put Julie inside a drink cart and used that to transport her to the lower area. Since one of the crew members was an accomplice, it's likely she helped move the cart.


Question: So no-one saw Jodie Foster bring her kid on the plane, I understand that. The plane was empty when the 2 of them boarded as they were the first to board. There wasn't anyone else on the plane and as soon as they got to their seats her little girl bent down on the floor to play with a toy, so I fully understand that no-one saw the girl. What I want to know, is how did the hijackers know she was going to be boarding first? Had she boarded much later with other passengers then SOMEONE would have seen the kid, and that would have totally foiled the plan. How could they have banked on her boarding first?


Chosen answer: He didn't know for sure, but he had a hunch. As far as he could tell she would arrive early to register the body for the U.S. and they would let her board the plane first (as a common courtesy, since her husband died) Plus, he new that she had knowledge of planes and that it was her interest to see a new model of an aircraft that she helped build before it was to take off.

Jason Riley

Question: In one of the last scenes, when Kyle and her daughter hide in a little compartment and survive the explosion, somebody who answered another question in this page said it was the hold of the plane, but I thought it was the black box when I saw it. So which one was it? And is it possible for a person to fit in the black box of a plane?

Chosen answer: No, it's not possible. The 'black box' (which actually isn't black, but is instead brightly coloured to make it easier to find) is a data recorder, packed with all the attendent electronics required for that task; it's far too small for anybody to fit into.


Question: Out of the hundreds of people on the plane, not a single passenger or flight crew saw Jodi Fosters character bring her daughter onto the plane? Was everyone supposed to be in on it? That would just be too weird and next to impossible.

Chosen answer: Firstly the flight wasn't full. Secondly there were already several children on board. Thirdly, 2 people did see her bring the child on board, both the hijackers. Fourthly, Jodie and her daughter were the very first people on the plane, and greeted by the female hijacker. Then her daughter was seated until going to sleep. No one had a chance to see her. If a person is able to remember the face of every single passanger on a plane then they should be onstage with a memory act. On many flights I've been on, I couldn't even recall the people sitting around me, let alone the rest of the plane.

Soylent Purple

Question: Can someone please explain to me who those men were that Jodie Foster saw out of her daughter's window in the beginning of the movie if they were not the individuals on the flight?

Chosen answer: It was the men seen early in the film who murdered Foster's husband. When her daughter disappeared on the plane, Foster suspected the Muslim passengers were the kidnappers, believing they looked similar to the men she saw when her husband died. However, they were never involved in the plot. Because Foster was under extreme duress and somewhat irrational, she jumped to a politically incorrect assumption based on their ethnicity.


Question: Why did the villains kidnap Jodie Foster's daughter? The item they were smuggling was well hidden in the casket, and they could easily retrieve it after they landed. Nabbing the kid only drew attention to what they were doing. Can anyone explain this?

Chosen answer: The bad guys needed Jodie Foster to open the casket (combination locked) to get to "the goods" (a bomb they needed in mid-air, not smuggled goods - it would be useless after landing). They concocted a plan to kidnap the daughter but make it look like the daughter never existed. This was the only way that the casket would be opened without reasonable suspicion on the bad guys.

Jason Feng



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Kyle: You get off the plane when I say you get off the plane.



The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are shown checking baggage in the final scenes at the same time that FBI agents are making arrests. The flight landed in Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, any crime committed during an international flight that ends on Canadian soil is deemed to have been committed in Canada. That being the case, the RCMP as the national police force has full jurisdiction. There is no way the FBI would be involved at that point.



The role of Kyle was originally written for a male character, but when Jodie Foster expressed interest, the filmmakers felt she was strong enough to carry the part and cast her instead.