Family’s dream trip to Disney turns into a nightmare, thanks to airline error and “passing the buck”

family cinderella castle disney world
Credit: Canva Creation

Where you call home can have a strong bearing on how easily you get to the Walt Disney World Resort for a family vacation, as one family discovered during their recent Disney trip, during which the journey itself proved nearly impossible.

The Miller family was looking forward to their trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth. Surely they’d done their due diligence in planning, choosing a Disney Resort Hotel at which to stay, making sure they had their park pass reservations squared away, and deciding which restaurants to try during their visit to the parks.

Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

They had been very careful when booking airfare from the United Kingdom to Orlando International Airport, ensuring that each of the four of them had a seat on the airliner on the departing and return flights. But for all of their planning and preparation, the Millers were still met with obstacles and hardships along the way.

What was to be a magical family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort turned into a getaway chock full of setbacks, disappointments, and a large sum of extra, unforeseen, and unplanned for out-of-pocket expenses, all because of a booking error by the airline.

According to The Sun, the Millers arrived at Birmingham Airport on May 30 to board a plane bound for Orlando. They had originally planned to travel in early April, but after Sheldon Miller’s father became ill, the family postponed the trip until the end of May.

But when they went to check in for their scheduled flight with KLM Airlines, they were informed that they had been booked on a return flight, instead of on a flight bound for the United States because of a booking error.

family of four

Credit: The Sun

Desperate not to disappoint his children, a 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son, Sheldon had no choice–per the airline–but to fork out an additional £2,600, or approximately $3,150 USD, for tickets to board an outbound flight to Orlando with a different airline, Aer Lingus. And that was in addition to the cost of an overnight hotel stay, as the family was stranded, and the new flight was scheduled for the next day.

The family had received an email confirmation about the change to their tickets–from early April to late May–along with a check-in link with the airline. But despite the confirmation, the Miller family was denied boarding, as the airline said none of the family members were registered to fly on the very outbound flight for which they had confirmation.

klm airlines confirmation

KLM Airlines sample e-mail confirmation sample/Credit: Twitter

Sheldon said he didn’t receive help from anyone, and he was forced to purchase new tickets for a departing flight to Orlando.

As if a prank were being played on the family, the Millers were once again denied boarding on their return flight, and once again, they received no assistance from the airline in correcting the error. Instead, they were forced to make their way home very slowly–with multiple stops along the way–via Virgin Atlantic Airlines.

They zigzagged across the globe, departing Orlando International Airport bound for London Heathrow. From there, the family traveled to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and from Amsterdam, finally to their home in Birmingham.

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

At the time of publication, the Miller family is still waiting for the airline to compensate them for the extra departing and returning flights they were forced to purchase, even though they had already paid for both previously and had the airline’s confirmation to prove it. Sheldon says no one took responsibility for the fiasco.

In a statement to The Sun, a representative for KLM Airlines said: “We are aware of the incident and are currently conducting an investigation into what happened.”

Here’s hoping that the family’s time at Disney World in between the airline ordeals was very magical indeed.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!