Created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith, Apple TV+’s thriller series ‘Hijack’ revolves around the hijacking of Flight KA29, which travels from Dubai to London. A group of individuals takes control of the flight upon threatening the pilot to kill his lover. Sam Nelson, a corporate negotiator returning to his ex-wife Marsha and son Kai, tries to negotiate with the leader of the hijackers Stuart. The series progresses through Sam’s efforts to safeguard himself and the passengers of the flight by earning the trust of Stuart and the other hijackers. Intrigued by the show’s engrossing premise, we set out to find whether the same is based on a real hijacking. Here’s what we can share about the same!
Is Hijack a True Story?
No, ‘Hijack’ is not based on a true story. The foundation of the show was created when co-creator George Kay and lead performer and executive producer Idris Elba set out to conceive an impactful series. “One thing I really wanted was to have a show that had an impact. Not necessarily, like, a message but just something that people go, “Oh, man, it’s stuck to me,” Elba told Variety. “I guess the premise was, what would [Elba’s character Sam Nelson] do if he was on a plane and it got hijacked? What would you do? And it’s kind of like, well, I’d sit there and wait and hope we don’t die? Or would you just do something about it?” he added.
Kay and co-creator Jim Field Smith then tried to build a narrative that doesn’t resemble the narratives of typical hijack/hostage movies or shows. “It takes a fresh approach to a thriller and hostage situation. There’s an amplified nature of having a ticking time bomb in a plane and what that does to human nature,” Elba told EW. The ticking bomb aspect of the episodes was originally conceived by Kay when he realized that the flight time between Dubai and London is also the runtime of the series, only for him to say to himself, “Why don’t we run it for real?” as per Deadline.
“It felt like a magnified experience of a hijacking and just felt right,” Kay told Deadline about following the flight minute-by-minute. The show’s narrative structure allowed Kay and Smith to make it more rooted in reality. The series depicts the passengers and the crew members’ angst and fears in detail, which adds to the authenticity of the narrative despite it being fictional. Another prominent storyline of the series follows Zahra Gahfoor, an officer of the counter-terrorism wing based in London.
Through Zahra’s storyline, the series opens a window into the intricate law enforcement and bureaucratic procedures involved with flight hijackings. “It is an examination of the procedures and attitudes [within the government and law enforcement], and that becomes a focal point of the storytelling,” Elba added to EW.
Is Flight KA29 a Real Airplane?
No, Flight KA29 is not a real airplane. The same is a fictional flight named after the fictional airplane company Kingdom. Although a company named “Kingdom Airlines” once existed based in the United Kingdom, the same is not related to the hijacked flight in the series. Kay and Smith must have named the airline company “Kingdom” for the same to appear similar to Emirates, one of the most prominent airlines based in Dubai. The word “kingdom” can be considered as a synonym of “emirate” as well. However, to be clear, Kingdom’s KA29 doesn’t have any relation with the flights of Emirates.
Even though Flight KA29’s passengers are fictional, Kay and Smith’s show succeeds in portraying the impact of a flight hijacking on the people aboard realistically. The two men who try to attack one of the hijackers, the old woman who seeks comfort in a pill, the crew member who prays, and the priest who says that prayer cannot save them show us how differently each individual approaches a life-threatening occurrence. This psychological exploration of the passengers of the flight makes ‘Hijack’ distinct from other hijack-oriented films and television shows.
Read More: Where is Hijack Filmed?