The air elemental has the Whirlwind action, which allows it to try to throw every character in the same space as it.
The description reads:
Each creature in the elemental's space must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a target takes 15 (3d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage and is flung up 20 feet away from the elemental in a random direction and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes an object, such as a wall or floor, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.
If the saving throw is successful, the target takes half the bludgeoning damage and isn't flung away or knocked prone.
Are the affected targets thrown along the ground or up in the air? (That is, are they being hurled along the ground up to 20 feet, or are they being hurled up in the air and landing up to 20 feet away?)
The main reason I'm asking is because a throw along the ground might only go 5 feet before they hit another character, in which case the other character has to make a Dexterity save, but neither character takes damage as the required 10 feet of movement hasn't occurred.