Based on a true story, the movie was a thinly disguised account of screenwriter Terence Rattigan's real-life friend Vivien Leigh and her attempt to leave her husband Laurence Olivier for Australian actor Peter Finch . Leigh and Finch made it to the London airport, but their plane was delayed by incoming fog giving Olivier time to confront the two and bring Leigh home. Leigh abandoned the plan after hours of fog delay.
Most of the jewelry worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the film is from her personal collection. The diamond and emerald brooch is cited as her first "If it's Tuesday, I love you" gift from future husband Richard Burton. The diamond tiara worn during the opening credits dinner party scene was a gift from third husband Michael Todd .
Peter Medak worked as an assistant and one day noticed that Richard Burton was talking to two of the most important characters in the London underworld, Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Burton had a few scuffles with the press and was looking for advice on security. Almost 30 yeats later, Medak would direct a biopic of the Krays, starring Gary and Martin Kemp.
The airline involved with the passengers in the film, B.O.A.C. - British Overseas Airways Corporation - was formed in 1939 from the merger, by Act of Parliment, of British Airways Ltd., and Imperial Airways. In 1974 it merged with British European Airways to become British Airways.
Christopher Plummer was originally signed to appear and was having his costumes fitted when he learnt that there was a better payday available for "The Fall of the Roman Empire". Luckily enough, the producers had yet to put his salary into escrow so he was able to jump ship and head off to Spain to play Commodus in the Samuel Bronston epic.