Ajira Airways Flight 316 was a scheduled passenger flight from Los Angeles, California, United States to Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific. It was due to reach Guam via a stop in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, on a Boeing 737 owned and operated by Ajira Airways and piloted by Frank Lapidus. It was chosen by Eloise Hawking as a flight for the Oceanic Six to use to return to the Island. The plane crash-landed on Hydra Island in 2007. While some members of the Oceanic Six were teleported onto the Island in 1977 (Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid), most of the passengers survived the crash, though some with minor or severe injuries. 14 days later, Frank flew the plane off Hydra Island with Kate, Claire, Richard, Sawyer, and Miles on board.
Saving the Island
The flight was the means by which the Oceanic Six were to return to the Island. Despite their personal motivations to go back (or lack thereof), their return was exceptionally important because it was the only way to save the Island, as was told to John Locke by Richard, who in turn was told by the Man in Black (in Locke form). After learning about the Island's dislodgement in time and the increasingly deadly time flashes the remaining survivors were suffering from, Locke realized that the only way to keep the Island intact long enough for him to discover his purpose was to leave it and bring the Oceanic Six back. After making it off the Island and failing to convince all of those who left to come back, Locke lost his way and turned to suicide. Before making good on his commitment to his own death, Ben intervened, murdering him in a hotel room and taking over for Locke re-uniting and transporting the Six back to the Island.
“It must be this flight”
In the Lamp Post, Ms. Hawking expounded on the matter to help everyone understand the surrounding circumstances. She explained that the Island was always moving through time, and in order to determine where it was, they should look for where it was going to be.
She said that windows provide a route back, but they didn't stay open long, and the window through which they were supposed to enter closed in 36 hours. She handed Jack a binder that contained all air routes that flew over the coordinates of the Island, pointing out that the intended window was directly in the flight path of Ajira Airways Flight 316. Ms. Hawking emphasized that they must take that flight if they had any hope of returning to the Island.
The exact coordinates of Flight 316 as shown in the binder were as follows:
|316||LOS ANGELES||34° 03 N||118° 14 W||GUAM||13° 10 N||144° 48 E|
Proxies and substitutes
As Eloise Hawking told the audience at the Lamp Post, the circumstances that led the Oceanic Six to board Flight 815 must be recreated as best as possible. However, the nature and possible outcomes of the recreation is unclear, as described by Ms. Hawking.
If you... want to return, you need to recreate as best you can the circumstances that brought
Jack seemed unconvinced and criticized planning the whole matter on mere hope, to which Eloise replied that it might not be the case, at least for him. She brought him into her office alone and gave him specific instructions about recreating circumstances to mirror Flight 815, telling him that a proxy was needed. When Jack inquired about the proxy and who it was meant to represent, Eloise merely replied, "Who do you think?" She then informed Jack that he had to place an object that belonged to his late father inside Locke's coffin.
Failure to completely comply with Eloise's instructions resulted in some passengers experiencing time travel before impact. While most of the circumstances were recreated, not enough were for the expected crash, and complications arose resulting in four of the passengers waking up in 1977, rather than 2007. ("Lost: A Journey in Time")
Fans have commented about other similarities between Flight 316 and the original Flight 815, speculating that other proxies are needed and were used. However, these speculations have not been confirmed within canon, and, therefore, are considered theoretical, no matter how plausible they may seem.
At LAX Airport
At the boarding pass counter, Jack was questioned by the ticketing agent about his relationship to the deceased Jeremy Bentham, and the purpose of transporting his body to Guam. Jack replied that he was a friend and that it was the deceased's wish to be buried there. The ticketing agent started to recite a transport procedure and plead for Jack's signatory when turned around and saw Kate passing by, which comforted him about her attendance.
A short time later, before they passed security, Sun approached Jack, who told her he thought she might change her mind. She assured him that she had to be on that plane if there was any chance Jin was still alive. To their disbelief, a handcuffed Sayid was escorted to a holding area by Ilana. ("316")
After being escorted in by Ilana, Sayid noticed the rest of the Oceanic Six and asked to be put on a different flight. After falsely - or perhaps truthfully - noting that he wished to take a different flight for superstitious reasons, Ilana refused and instead sarcastically offered to buy him a rabbit's foot. ("He's Our You")
Upon being released from custody after his false murder plea, Hurley got in a cab with Jacob who claimed he was only going a few blocks and that they should share the cab. After informing Hurley that he was not dead, but is from the island, he convinced Hurley that his friends need him on the island, and suggested that he take Ajira Airways Flight 316. Then Jacob left, leaving behind a guitar case, which he said was not his, leaving it in Hurley's possession. ("The Incident, Part 1")
Hurley checked in early, apparently, as he was next seen sitting at the gate before the arrival of the others, reading a Spanish comic book in an attempt to be inconspicuous. However, when the gate attendant announced pre-boarding and availibity on the "standby list", Hurley rushed to the counter, agitatedly explaining he had purchased the remaining 78 seats. The agent questioned why he wouldn't want people to get to their destination, but he dismissed her query, telling her that they could take the next flight. It was evident that Hurley was concerned the plane would crash, and took those measures to save as many potential passengers as he could by preventing them from flying on 316.
Jack arrived just as Hurley finished speaking to the attendant and showed surprise at seeing him, asking him what he was doing there. Hurley merely replied that it only mattered he was there, and he prompted Jack to board the plane. ("316")
Crew and passengers
The pilot of Flight 316 was Frank Lapidus, and co-pilot was Peter Ross. Flight attendant Rupa Krishnavani was aboard, as were the Oceanic Six, minus Aaron. Benjamin Linus, John Locke's corpse, Ilana Verdansky and Caesar, who offered Jack his condolences about his friend's death, were also aboard the flight. Several other unnamed flight attendants were aboard as were several dozen passengers. Prior to boarding the plane, Hurley bought all 78 remaining free seats in an effort to spare the lives of those who might have purchased those seats and been on the plane when it crashed.
Just before the door of the plane was going to be closed, Ben arrived with cuts on his face and his arm in a sling. Hurley became agitated when he saw Ben board, and yelled that "he can't come." Jack rushed forward and attempted to defuse the situation by comforting Hurley and telling him that was the way things had to be if they were to return to the Island. A flight attendant inquired if everything was okay, and Jack reassured her that everything was fine. Hurley unconvincingly replied he would be fine in response to Jack's prompting question. When the attendant heard Jack's name from Hurley, she handed Jack a note which she indicated security came across during inspection. The note was Locke's suicide note which Jack had intentionally left in the coffin because he did not want to read it. ("316")
During the dispute, Sayid asked Ilana if she worked for Ben. When she denied this, Sayid described Ben as a liar, manipulator and a monster, and when asked who would work for someone like that, Sayid replied, "I did." ("He's Our You")
Meeting an old friend
Shortly after take off, Jack and Kate were having a conversation when they were sidetracked by the "welcome aboard" message over the airplane's PA system, announcing an old friend, Frank Lapidus, was the pilot. Jack immediately went forward toward the cockpit and requested a meeting with Frank. A clean-shaven Frank emerged from the cockpit a few moments later, sharing a pleasant reunion with Jack. As they were exchanging pleasantries and Frank was explaining how he came to be Aijira's pilot, he noticed and questioned if one of the other passengers in first class was Sayid. As his eyes travelled the first class cabin, Frank noticed the other Oceanic Six on board, and with a strange look upon his face, he remarked to Jack, "We're not going to Guam, are we?"
While the plane was traveling at night, it suddenly experienced heavy turbulence. A few calm seconds later, it hit more turbulence and passengers started to get worried. The situation escalated and the plane started to shake heavily and emergency lights lit up. Inside the plane's cockpit, the pilot and co-pilot were trying to control the situation. The co-pilot switched off the autopilot which regained full control to the pilot. Meanwhile in the passengers' cabin, a stewardess came out and began instructing passengers to fasten their seat belts and lift up fallen luggage when suddenly a bright flash of white light engulfed the whole cabin. Immediately afterwards, the pilots found themselves in daylight, although the plane was previously traveling at night. Jack, Kate, and Hurley (with his guitar case) found themselves in or near a lagoon on the Island in 1977. None of them had any recollection of a crash, nor of anything past the white light. ("316") ("Namaste")
On the Island
After the white flash, the plane was at an extremely low altitude very close to terrain, even though they had been at at cruise altitude immediately before. The pilots spotted the runway on Hydra Island, offshore from the main Island, and elect to attempt a landing there, overrunning onto the beach. The co-pilot died when a tree branch came through the window and harpooned his chest, spraying blood over Frank Lapidus. All passengers are thought to have survived, although many are injured. Led by Ilana and Caesar, the passengers set up camp on the Hydra Island beach and fashioned one of the Hydra station buildings into an infirmary, where they attended to injured survivors, including Benjamin Linus.
On the beach, the passengers found outrigger canoes. Ilana said that one of the canoes was missing, having been taken by the pilot and a woman. The passengers were also troubled by the sudden appearance of John Locke, whom they did not remember being on the plane, and Caesar and Ilana complained to Locke that they saw some of the Oceanic Six disappear from the plane during the flash of light and before the crash. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") ("Namaste")
On Hydra Island
Caesar installed himself as the leader of the survivors, backed by three men, but got shot by Benjamin Linus when attempting to prevent Locke's and Ben's departure to the main island. Upon Frank Lapidus' return to Hydra Island, a select group of the passengers, led by Ilana Verdansky and Bram, took John Locke's body and a captured Frank Lapidus to the main Island on a quest to find Jacob. ("Dead Is Dead") The rest of the several dozen passengers remained on Hydra Island until most of them were murdered. Sawyer Ford found their decomposing bodies near the plane after visiting Hydra Island on a reconnaissance mission by Locke's impersonator. ("Recon")
Because "Locke" aspired to use the Ajira plane, ostensibly to escape the Island, the Losties led by Verdansky sought to destroy it with dynamite taken from the Black Rock. Michael Dawson's ghost appeared to Hugo "Hurley" Reyes -- who had by now returned from 1977 with the other time-warped Losties -- and told him that the plan would backfire and kill his friends. Reyes tried to dissuade them from following through with the plan, going so far as to desperately lie that Jacob had told him so. In the end, Richard Alpert, Ben Linus, and Miles Straume separated from the group to destroy the plane on their own. ("Everybody Loves Hugo")
"Locke" himself later visited the Ajira plane, still purported to use it to leave the Island. Two members of Widmore's team attacked him with automatic weapons, but he proved immune to their firepower and quickly dispatched them. Upon boarding the plane, "Locke" found wiring leading to C-4 explosives hidden in the overhead compartments. When the Losties led by Ford arrived at the plane -- themselves hoping to use it to escape -- "Locke" claimed that he had found four packs of explosives on board, and that Widmore had put them there to kill them all when they tried to escape the Island. Because he was unsure how many bombs were still on the plane, he felt that it was more safe to escape on Widmore's submarine instead. ("The Candidate")
Alpert's group traveled to Linus's old house at the Barracks, where Ben kept six packs of C-4 explosives in his secret room. The packs, assured Ben, were enough to destroy the plane "ten times over". However, their journey was interrupted by the arrivals of "Locke", Zoe, and Widmore; the latter informed Alpert's group that he had already rigged the plane with explosives. Zoe and Widmore were killed during this encounter, and "Locke" attacked Alpert in his Smoke Monster form; Ben subsequently -- albeit temporarily -- joined "Locke". ("What They Died For")
Alpert and Straume decided to continue as planned without Linus. As the two were rowing to Hydra Island, they found Frank, who had survived the explosion and sinking of Widmore's submarine; Lapidus suggested that they escape the Island in the Ajira plane instead of destroying it. Upon reaching the plane, they repaired its broken windshield and damaged hydraulic systems. This brought the plane into good working condition, allowing Lapidus to prepare for takeoff. As the plane was taxiing down the collapsing Hydra Island runway, it managed to slow down so that Ford, Austen and Claire Littleton could be pulled aboard. The Ajira plane safely took off just as the runway began to crack; its occupants managed to escape the initially self-destructing Island. ("The End")
After leaving Hydra Island
- The plane is a Boeing 737 aircraft.
- According to a timeline in the writers room, the flight number was originally going to be 154. 
- Ajira Airways Flight 316 and its fateful crash on the Island reintroduced the show's primary storyline: the eventful lives of a group of seemingly unrelated people in the aftermath of a plane crash on a mysterious Island.
- Los Angeles was the departure city for Flight 316, and the intended destination of Flight 815.
- Frank Lapidus, replaced as pilot of Oceanic Flight 815, was the pilot of Flight 316. His successful crash landing, keeping the plane intact, on the Hydra runway corroborated his reputation as a "pretty good pilot", as praised by Matthew Abaddon and self-proclaimed by himself in "Confirmed Dead".
- The episode in which most of the events of Flight 316 were shown was titled after the flight number. ("316")
- The four people on the flight who vanished and went back in time (Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid) were also visited off the Island by John Locke before the flight. Neither Ben nor Sun, both of whom did not vanish, were visited by John Locke. Ben called on John however, which resulted in Locke's murder. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") ("Namaste")
- According to the lie the Oceanic Six told, 316 would be the number of people who died in the crash of flight 815. 324–8=316
- Hurley presumably bought up all the seats he could on Flight 316 so that he could save as many lives as possible. In the end this turns out to have been the right thing to do, as when Sawyer returns to the runway all the remaining passengers have been killed. ("316") ("Recon")
- Kate and Frank are the only two people to arrive on the Island on the plane and to leave on it 14 days later. ("The End")
- At the start of "Some Like It Hoth", Lara Chang, the mother of Miles Straume, opens a microwave which displays the time of 3:16, both a reference to the numbers and to flight 316.
- By the end of the series, there are only four passengers alive: Kate, Hurley, Ben, Frank.