On a Wing and a Prayer Ending Explained – how did Doug land the plane?

By Ricky Valero
Published: April 7, 2023 (Last updated: August 17, 2023)

We discuss the ending of the 2023 Prime Video film On a Wing and a Prayer which will contain spoilers.

The Prime Video movie On a Wing and a Prayer followed the true story of a father who had to take over a plane once its pilot died mid-flight. The film was directed by Sean McNamara, written by Brian Egeston, and stars Dennis Quaid as the lead, with Heather Graham playing his wife as the co-lead.

With being an inexperienced pilot, we share with you the ending of the film and how Doug landed the plane.

Heading into watching On a Wing and a Prayer, I had moderate expectations due to the film being taken out of theaters last year. The high-ups at Amazon Studios decided to move the movie to a Prime Video release after they acquired MGM. That obviously didn’t bode well for the film because had it been good, it probably would’ve stayed in theaters.

On a Wing and a Prayer Ending Explained

My suspicions were correct, as On a Wing and a Prayer is another biopic that falls short of being anything other than another movie that tells a true story in a very bad way. The story is fascinating as you have a man/father who has to take over a flight mid-flight to land the plane, or his family will die.

However, they took the focus off of just Doug and tried to explore all these other avenues causing you not to get that emotional connection.

READ: Is On a Wing and a Prayer based on a True Story?

Around the 40-minute mark of the film, we see the White family head onto a smaller plane that was chartered to get them home. They had been dealing with quite a lot lately with the passing of Doug’s brother and just wanted to get home.

What causes Doug to take over the plane?

In the middle of the plane, finally reaching its height for the pilot to put it in cruise control, the pilot passes out. Doug tries not to panic right away by trying to wake up the pilot until he realizes he has passed away and must take over the flight.

At the very beginning of the film, the writer and director do an excellent job of us seeing Doug’s attempt at landing a plane go downright awful because of his nerves (and inexperience). So now that he has to take over the pilot’s seat, he is frantically uncertain about what to do next. Doug and Terri are trying to figure out how to get this plane landed. While this is happening, all the air traffic control people are struggling to help Doug get control of the aircraft. However, one man named Kari becomes the most help, but after a failed landing, all communication with Doug is gone.

Who helps Doug land the plane?

Early in the film, we meet Dan, an air traffic controller in training who tends to have a drinking problem. However, while all the people in charge struggle to figure out how to help Doug, Dan picks up the phone and calls Kari for advice and help with the situation. Eventually, Dan brings the phone with Kari on it to talk to Doug while he is in the air.

Finally, with his girlfriend’s help, Kari can get Doug on the phone while he is in the air. Once that happens, Kari breaks down his next steps to save his family. Of course, Doug doubts his own ability but with his wife by his side and Kari ensuring his ability to help him, Doug is on board to land this plane. With Kari’s guidance, Doug is able to safely land the aircraft without anyone getting hurt.

What did you think of the Ending of the 2023 Prime Video film On a Wing and a Prayer? Comment below.

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