Another of the many stories that I first read in a Twilight Zone omnibus before I ever saw the episode itself, and another that I particularly enjoy, most probably because of its use of time travel as the story device.
The idea is excellent. Firstly that there is a plane that is in trouble, or at least in a situation that the flight crew find extraordinary. They fight their way out of that, and then creep below the cloud line to begin their approach to their landing airport, and yet they have no contact with anyone. And is it any wonder, given that they eventually find that they recognise the landscape, but there are no buildings and no people. In fact, what they see is hard to comprehend, because they see dinosaurs grazing and patrolling the earth.
This is played out excellently, as the flight crew not only envisage what has happened, but then logically deduce what must be done to solve their problem, and head back up to find the jet stream they have just fought their way through. It all comes across as the legitimate way pilots must face any unusual things that must occur in their work lives – given that this scenario is way out of unusual.
The realistic way this is played out makes the episode what it is. Given that most of the episode focuses on those in the cockpit, it is their reactions and the way they play it out that makes the story work. The ending also allows you to either feel hope or doom for the passengers of Flight 33.
Rating: I’m leaving on a jet plane. 5/5