Maybe this was considered serious stuff back in 1954, but it hasn't aged well at all. Let me give you an example: right before the engine conks out, Sidney Blackmer stands up and confronts another man in front of everybody about banging his wife, he then pulls out a gun and threatens to kill the other dude! One of the passengers (John Qualen) jumps the armed gentleman and disarms him. A little while later the crazy dude apologizes to Qualen, so he gives the guy's gun back!
If you like campy films as much as I do then you need to watch THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. It's a blast! Also I'm no film historian but I'm pretty sure that this film, the AIRPORT films and ZERO HOUR! were the main inspirations for AIRPLANE!
I guess they spelled "missile" differently back in 1954.