Phileas Fogg is finally feeling confident. Fix’s first credited article has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, and it portrays Fogg as a hero in his actions in Paris. He provides a neat counterpart to Jane Digby, a woman Fix recognizes in Al Hudaydah, the Yemeni port where Fogg and his companions are waiting to board a ship to Aden. Digby has had numerous affairs after marrying an English noble, eventually settling down with an Arab camel driver. She’s not an object of admiration, to say the least. Having recognized the party, she comes over and offers them good luck on their journey—they’ll need it.
Indeed they will, as another obstacle has appeared. Ships to Aden have been delayed due to pirate activity along the route. If they want to keep to their timeline, Fogg and his companions need an alternative way to Aden.
Luckily, a man offers to take them across the desert by camel. Fogg accepts over Passepartout’s objections—Passepartout doesn’t want to travel through the “Empty Quarter,” where people often die. Fogg ignores Passepartout’s counsel—except his reminder that Fogg promised Fix’s father Fortescue that he’d protect her. So Fogg decides to leave Fix behind with a steamer ticket back to London.
Ignorant of the plan, Fix comes to Passepartout to explain her obsession with writing her newspaper column. She was brought up by her father alone, and he always told stories of his travels. She wants to repay him by telling this story. Passepartout kisses her good night.
Fogg and Passepartout leave before dawn. When they stop to relieve themselves, Fogg notices a puddle of petroleum that has welled up. Returning to their camels, they find them and most of their belongings gone—they’ve been cheated. Fogg still has his bag and money, at least. He insists on continuing onward to an oasis that their erstwhile guide mentioned instead of turning back.
That night, Fogg lights a small fire with matches and he and Passepartout praise Fix, whom they miss. As they set off again the next day, Fogg collapses. Once Passepartout finally gets him on his feet again—and admits that he’s not actually a valet—a sandstorm bears down. Despite huddling together, they are separated in the gusts.
Meanwhile, Fix has enlisted the help of Digby and her husband to follow Fogg and Passepartout—only after the husband convinces Digby that Fix’s friends will die in the desert if they don’t help. They find both men and bring them to an oasis, where Fogg joyously hugs Passepartout.
The reunion with Fix is less happy. She’s angry that they left her behind and goads Fogg by saying that she’ll race him to finish the journey around the globe first. Except Digby won’t take them through the Empty Quarter to Aden, so the journey is over—neither of them will make it in time.
As Digby listens to them argue, she asks Fix who her oft-mentioned father is. Turns out she knows him: they were in Damascus together, where Fortescue made his reputation as a journalist. Except it was built on lies, Digby explains: he spent his time at bars and brothels, stealing the reports of other, braver journalists as his own. He asked Digby to run away with him. When she refused, he wrote a vicious hit piece about her that was mostly untrue. Turns out her husband isn’t a camel driver; he’s a sheikh.
Fogg apologizes to Fix for underestimating her, and asks for her forgiveness: not just for himself, but for Fortescue, too. She refuses to excuse her father. Digby tells her not to resign herself to the path that has been set out for her in a sexist era but to live her life for herself. She offers Fix the choice of continuing on to Aden.
So they all set off through the Empty Quarter. Digby’s husband gives Passepartout a gun over his objections—the Empty Quarter is patrolled by a hostile tribe. When they are suddenly surrounded at night, they fire into the darkness, trying to hit the horse-riding marauders. One grabs Fix and Passepartout shoots him down, saving her. As ammo runs low, Fogg notices another puddle of petroleum and lights it with a match, illuminating the whole area and sending the riders fleeing.
The party safely reaches Aden. Passepartout is overwhelmed by his killing of a man, especially in service of a rich man’s wild attempt to win a crazy wager. As Fogg goes to get tickets for a steamer to India, a man calls Passepartout over by name. It’s the man Bellamy has asked to stop Fogg so that Bellamy can win the wager—he’s so in debt, and so badly hiding it, that Fortescue pays his large outstanding bar tab at the Reform Club.
The man asks Passepartout to delay Fogg in India so that he misses his steamer to Hong Kong, offering cash as enticement and playing up the division between the poor Passepartout, who must work to survive, and the coddled Fogg, whom he serves. Passepartout initially tells him he doesn’t betray his friends, but eventually relents and takes the cash.
Fix, in the meantime, dictates her next column via telegraph to London. She has promised Digby that she will tell Digby’s children the truth about their mother if she ever makes it back to London. She begins to share that truth in her column, calling her father a liar.
And off they all go on a ship to India.