The Criminal Justice Degrees Guide has released a list of the top 10 scariest airplane hijackings prior to 9/11.
Among them is a 1970 attempt to commandeer four airplanes by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Two were successfully diverted to Dawson's Field in the Jordanian Desert. The hijackers won the release of two comrades, but still blew up the airplanes after the hostages were released. (See a first-hand account here) The event helped trigger Jordan's attempt to push out the PLO, known as Black September.
Also listed is the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight by two members of the PFLP and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells. They took the Paris-bound flight with its 259 hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. The crisis ended with a daring rescue operation launched by Israel known as Operation Entebbe. Three passengers, an Israeli commando, and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed in the operation. It still is considered one of the most successful hostage rescues in history.
To see the complete list, click here.