Spencer and his little sister, Katherine, are flying to Pennsylvania with be with their dad for Christmas. During a layover, a blizzard moves in and cancels all flights out of Hoover International Airport. They must stay in a basement room with the other unaccompanied minors. Spencer and four others - a chubby boy, a non-stop-talker, a surly girl, and a rich kid - go AWOL and get in trouble with Mr. Porter, the Christmas-hating airport supervisor. They spend the night evading and enduring his punishments, discovering all sorts of things in back rooms, making sure Katherine gets her visit with Santa, and finding a new kind of family among themselves.