Here is what happened, without the “8 days before” “23 minutes before” “2 days before” stuff. Beware of spoilers, duh.\
Joan of Arcadia‘s older, wheelchair-bound brother, also known as the cute teacher who macked on Lorelai Gilmore on Parenthood, takes his girlfriend on a cruise. She is kidnapped, and all traces of their stuff and information is erased, her cell phone disconnected. Security is set to hold him for something (probably on suspicion of being a stow-away), but he runs away from them. He ends up on an airplane and tries to force his way into the cockpit. He is stopped by an air marshal.\
An attractive Asian man who isn’t John Cho meets with Kerry, the polio-surviving, lesbian, doctor from ER, and they talk about stuff that I don’t recall. Later, attractive Asian man tries to prevent the plane holding the boyfriend from taking off, but he isn’t successful.
The President of the United States, played by Blair Underwood, who hasn’t made enough of a splash as a single character for me to refer to him as anything other than his given name, meets with some advisers and demands to be taken to some secret, special place. The advisers try to talk him out of going, to no avail.
Meanwhile, the girlfriend’s parents, played by Luke from Gilmore Girls (think he and Joan of Arcadia brother bonded off-screen about smooching Lauren Graham on-screen?) and some lady I recognize but don’t know from where, are taking care of the girlfriend’s daughter from a previous relationship while the girlfriend is on the cruise. The child is also kidnapped, through no fault of the grandmother though she was really mean to the girl. This forces the grandfather, who happens to be an airline pilot, to hijack an airplane, and apparently kill the other pilot, to try to crash the plane into the secret, special building where the President of the United States is. This is the same airplane that the boyfriend is on. The boyfriend pleads with the girlfriend’s dad through the intercom to not “do this… We’ll find her. She wouldn’t want this.”
People at the important building notice a giant jumbo jet coming toward them and they flail around a bit. Suddenly a bright light erupts and the plane didn’t crash into the building. Kerry-from-ER, says, “They saved us.”\
I sort of want to rewatch it just to make sure my details are right, but no. That would be too much torture.