After pulling a harmless prank on Moe, Homer is banned from His Tavern, ironically after Moe laughed off life-threatening ones that Lenny, Carl and Barney pulled on him. Looking for another place to drink (including the Cheers bar), Homer eventually settles for an airline pilots' bar, but is mistaken for a pilot (despite confessing that he's not really a pilot) and is put in the cockpit of an airplane, which he promptly wrecks after raising the stationary plane's landing gear. In exchange for his silence of the mistake they've made, the airline gives the Simpson family free tickets to anywhere they desire in the continental United States. However, the idea of plane travel fills Marge with anxiety as she has a fear of flying, and after numerous failed attempts to get out of the trip, she eventually has a panic attack on the plane, following which the trip is postponed.
Marge does not want to talk to anybody about her fear, and Lisa worries that Marge's decision to keep her feelings bottled up will cause them to "come out in other ways". When Marge begins to show signs of her lingering flight-related trauma by insisting the cat and the dog are living in sin, cooking giant feasts, and shingling the roof in the middle of the night, Lisa convinces Marge to undergo treatment with therapist Dr. Zweig. Homer, however, grows increasingly paranoid about Marge's therapy, believing that Zweig will blame Marge's trauma on him, and encourage her to leave him.
Zweig uncovers the roots of Marge's fear: the moment she realized her father was not a pilot, but an apron-wearing flight attendant, a job that was mostly reserved for women at the time. Her shame is eased when Zweig assures her that male flight attendants are now very common and that her father could be considered a pioneer. Marge also brings up memories of her grandmother poking her in the eye as a baby while playing airplane, a toy plane catching fire, and having a plane fire at her and her mother, but Zweig just ignores them. Before the therapist begins to question Marge's marriage, Homer immediately takes Marge away and Marge manages to thank Zweig for helping her. Marge is finally cured of her fears, but when she and Homer attempt to fly on a plane again, the plane crashes into a lake.