Left 4 Dead Wiki
Dead Air.jpg
Dead Air
Tagline "Their flight just got delayed. Permanently."
Creator Valve Software
  1. The Greenhouse
  2. The Crane
  3. The Construction Site
  4. The Terminal
  5. Runway Finale

"Get to the runway of Metro Airport for an airlift rescue."

"Dead Air" is the fourth campaign in Left 4 Dead.

"Dead Air" ported to Left 4 Dead 2 after 20,000 Left 4 Dead 2 players earned the achievement "STREAM CROSSER" by completing the campaign "Cold Stream". In common with parallel L4D remakes, the L4D2 version features additional weapons, items and Infected, and various changes to the campaign's gameplay; most notably introducing a one-way drop in "The Construction Site" and a gauntlet crescendo in "The Terminal".

The campaign opens with the Survivors hiding in a rooftop greenhouse when a low-flying C-130 sparks agreement that the local airport may still be operating evacuation flights. Thereafter the campaign has The Survivors make their way through Newburg to Metro International Airport where they must refuel their escape aircraft.

To get to the airport they must traverse rooftops, apartment buildings, and office cubicles; they defy health and safety regulations by lowering a dumpster using a crane, shoot their way through a de-constructed construction site, surmount the manifold dangers posed by an electrical substation, find somewhere safe in short-term airport parking, deliver various keynote addresses at the airport's conference center, attempt to check in, discover what really happens to lost airline luggage, battle crowds in the departure lounge, check their economy boarding passes before proceeding to the departure gate, and (in true budget airline tradition) ensure the airplane is prepped to fly before finally boarding their flight through the rear exit.

Below is a complete list of video walkthroughs of the 5 levels:

  1. The Greenhouse
  2. The Crane
  3. The Construction Site
  4. The Terminal
  5. Runway Finale

Please note that the gameplay videos are on each campaign's info page, not on each map page.

Left 4 Dead 2[]

With the "Cold Stream" DLC mentioned above, "Dead Air" was edited and ported to Left 4 Dead 2. Thus, it included all the new Infected, items and weapons, giving a whole new experience. Video walkthroughs below show off the Left 4 Dead 2 version of the campaign and all changes from the original version:

  1. Maps 1 and 2
  2. Maps 3 and 4
  3. Map 5

Official description[]

Guide your team of Survivors out of the downtown core of Newburg's business district, through derelict office floors and still-inhabited cubicles, and out onto the runway of Metro International Airport, where the only thing standing between you and the last plane out of the city is a murderous army of the undead.[1]


A map of Newburg in the "Dead Air" campaign. The map spans from "The Greenhouse" up to the "Runway Finale"

  • There are several instances on the rooftops where one may find writing, such as "Help! Need food", or "S.O.S." There are also numerous writings about how a bomb will be dropped on the airport.
  • "The Terminal"'s starting safe room contains interesting graffiti such as: "WE ARE THE REAL MONSTERS" and "I miss the internet".
  • Other notable inscriptions include claims that the Infected were created by the military, the government is giving a cure to the rich and that the virus was made by aliens. Subsequent refugees have added their own disparaging addenda to these assertions. Interestingly, no evidence in the entire series supports these, as military divisions desire to protect survivors and/or eliminate all infected, yet due to the Green Flu's severe virulence, they are unable to develop a cure.
  • The phrase "God is dead" can be seen at various places in the campaign. Zoey will occasionally make an acerbic comment about it when she reads the one that appears on a wall at the airport conference center. First coined by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, it became embedded in popular culture as a way of rationalizing events of mass horror and disaster.
  • In the safe room of The Crane, there is some graffiti on the wall that states "This is our punishment." Right under this is the sentence "It's just Dead Air"―a reference to the title of the campaign.


Left 4 Dead[]

L4d dead air.jpg
Survive the Dead Air campaign.

L4d noone left behind.jpg
Beat a campaign with all 4 Survivors.

L4d stomach upset.jpg
All Survivors complete a campaign without being vomited on.

L4d saftey first.jpg
Play an entire campaign with no Survivors taking friendly fire damage.

L4d do not disturb.jpg
Sneak past all Witches in a campaign without disturbing one.

L4d zombicidal maniac.jpg
Survive any campaign on Expert.

L4d stand tall.jpg
Survive a campaign without being incapacitated.

L4d what are you trying to prove.jpg
Survive all campaigns on Expert.

L4d unbreakable.jpg
Finish a campaign without being healed by a first aid kit.

L4d nothing special.jpg
Survive a campaign with no Survivors taking damage from Special Infected.

L4d akimbo assassin.jpg
Survive an entire campaign using only pistols.

Left 4 Dead 2[]

Confedaracy of crunches.jpg
Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.

Crass menagerie.jpg
Kill one of each Uncommon Infected.

The real deal.jpg
Survive a campaign on Expert difficulty with Realism mode enabled.

Play an entire game of Versus on Dead Air in Left 4 Dead 2.

Behind the Scenes[]

The only known "Dead Air" image shown before the game was released

Only one screenshot of "Dead Air" was shown before the game was released. This, together with an early "Runway" image in the game's files suggests that "Dead Air" was originally intended to have a light blue "moonlight" visual tint applied to it.

An unreleased map called "Tutorial Standards" also exists in the both Left 4 Dead games' files which was originally intended to be part of the third chapter of this campaign with the title "The Garage".[2]


  • The desperation of the situation The Survivors find themselves in is underscored by strong evidence that the airport is out of service through aerial bombing. Not only does graffiti throughout the campaign make this claim, but it is also reinforced by random Survivor dialogue. For example, near the end of "Runway Finale" the Survivors may state the airport was bombed to prevent the Infection from spreading, and Francis may say, "What idiot bombed the airport?"
  • "Dead Air" is a broadcasting term referring to a mistake made by a radio station announcer or DJ when the microphone is switched off so the only thing heard on the radio is either static or, more commonly, nothing at all.
  • The term "Dead Air" is also used to describe air that is taken into the lungs but not absorbed into the blood stream.
  • "Dead Air" has the largest number of unused character lines. Bill, for instance, has active lines only for "The Terminal" and "The Runway" chapters.
  • There are five real-life Newburg boroughs in Pennsylvania, but the largest one, in Cumberland County, has a population of 388 (as of 2009), which is nowhere near as it appears in Left 4 Dead. However, it is located close to the Allegheny National Forest, and appears to be based on Pittsburgh in its size, geography, and landmarks such as the international airport.
  • Metro International Airport has many architectural similarities to the airport at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Francis' pose on the campaign poster is the same as that for "Death Toll" with different lighting.
  • The flash on Bill's beret is the blue U.S. Army flash in this poster. On all other posters (as well as in-game), it is the yellow flash of the U.S. 1st Special Forces Group. It is also one of two posters in which he is missing his trademark cigarette. The other one is the poster of "The Sacrifice".
  • There is a port of this campaign created as a custom campaign for Left 4 Dead 2 which features a Scavenge finale instead.
  • The C-130 used in this campaign is a Republic Of Korea Air Force C-130 as there is a ROKAF inscription on the tail-fin. The pilot may not be Korean since he speaks with a strong Midwestern American accent.
    • This implies that U.S. military forces stationed at Korea were recalled to tackle the infection in the mainland.
  • The Sacrifice comic (released September 2010) has Francis complaining that the aircraft has crashed. This event can be interpreted as denoting the point at which the "Blood Harvest" begins.
    • However, in the cut campaign "Dam It" - which bridges the gap between Dead Air and Blood Harvest - the C-130 would have made an emergency landing, and the four had to fight through a dam before they arrive at the forest.
  • The background lighting in this campaign can be interpreted as being the result of the sunrise or sunset combined with a pall of smoke hanging over Newburg.
  • At the start of "The Greenhouse", Zoey says "We can't stay up here forever" which suggests the Survivors had been in hiding and supplies are running out. In the opening scene, the C-130 is shown with its undercarriage lowered This, combined with its cruise height, allegiance (as a military aircraft) and sudden appearance appearance and the Survivor's reactions (cf. Zoey's statement above) all imply that Metro International Airport has been out of service for the entire time they have been holed up in the greenhouse.
  • This campaign was to be released for Left 4 Dead 2 early if 20,000 Left 4 Dead 2 players earned the achievement "STREAM CROSSER" by completing the "Cold Stream" campaign. The goal was reached within four hours, and Valve released a beta of "Dead Air" for Left 4 Dead 2 on July 22nd 2011.
  • Unused lines of dialogue from Dead Air implied that survivors and the pilot had an argument. Some of these unused lines were transferred to confront the Church Guy.


  1. http://www.l4d.com/l4d/campaigns.htm
  2. left4dead\missions\airport.txt
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
Achievement Mercy Killer.png No Mercy
The Apartments / The Subway / The Sewer / The Hospital / Rooftop Finale
Achievement Price Chopper.png Dead Center
The Hotel / The Streets / The Mall / The Atrium
Achievement Crash-proof.png Crash Course
The Alleys / The Truck Depot Finale
Achievement Torch Bearer.png The Passing
The Riverbank / The Underground / The Port
Achievement Toll Collector.png Death Toll
The Turnpike / The Drains / The Church / The Town / Boathouse Finale
Achievement Midnight Rider.png Dark Carnival
The Highway / The Fairgrounds / The Coaster / The Barns / The Concert
Achievement Dead Baron.png Dead Air
The Greenhouse / The Crane / The Construction Site / The Terminal / Runway Finale
Achievement Ragin' Cajun.png Swamp Fever
Plank Country / The Swamp / Shanty Town / The Plantation
Achievement Grim Reaper.png Blood Harvest
The Woods / The Tunnel / The Bridge / The Train Station / Farmhouse Finale
Achievement Weatherman.png Hard Rain
The Milltown / The Sugar Mill / Mill Escape / Return To Town / Town Escape
Achievement Supreme Sacrifice.png The Sacrifice
The Docks / The Barge / Port Finale
Achievement Bridge Burner.png The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
Non-Canon Campaigns
Achievement Last Stand.png The Last Stand
The Lighthouse
Achievement Stream Crosser.png Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
L4D Random Map Cropped.png Dam It (unfinished)
Orchard / Campground / Dam
Achievement Still Standing.png The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale