Man Says He and FiancĂ© Had to Cancel Disney World Vacation After Being “Held Hostage” By Airline

Credit: Alaska Air

Traveling during the holidays can be incredibly stressful, but you hope that in the couple of days following Christmas, things might not be as bad, and navigating the airport won’t be such a hassle. Of course, with the pandemic still raging and severe weather hitting parts of the U.S., traveling is still a risk and there is always a chance that your flight may be delayed and even canceled.

Credit: Avianca Airlines

For one couple heading to the Most Magical Place on Earth, their flight was anything but ordinary and involved being stuck on a plane for eight hours before their flight ended up being canceled altogether, which led to them having to cancel their Walt Disney World vacation.

Credit: Disney

Sean Nyberg took to Twitter to recount the absolutely horrible experience he and his fiancé had while traveling from Seattle, Washington to Orlando. According to Sean, their flight was supposed to leave a little before 9 a.m. and the flight boarded on time and all was looking good. From there, it all went downhill.

Our 7+ hours stuck on an airplane on the tarmac in Seattle on @AlaskaAir flight 16. It never took off. We don’t have our bags. And our @WaltDisneyWorldtrip has to be canceled. (1/2)

According to Sean, the first problem arose when the ground crews struggled to get the luggage onto the plane. He said that it was snowing, and the ground crew’s vehicles were having trouble navigating through the snow. However, the luggage did finally make it onto the plane, so all seemed to be moving in a positive direction. From there, a tug was attached to the plane to help it back away from the gate, but the original tug was not big enough. By the time a large enough tug arrived, there was another issue — de-icing.

We get in line to get de-iced and we are the 10th airplane in line. The waiting process takes over an hour just to begin deicing. Once it starts, it takes about 30 minutes. We are roughly 5-6 hours into this ordeal and haven’t left a 100-yard distance from the airport. Families going to Walt Disney World, young kids, an infant, everyone, just sitting with zero clue the timing because the flight crew had no clue. 

magic kingdom train station

Credit: Becky Burkett
Disney Dining

Eventually, the plane was fully de-iced and everything seemed ready to go. The pilot taxied to the runway and the plane began to move, but then all of a sudden slowed back down. The pilot informed the passengers that, because of all the waiting they had done, the plane did not have enough gas, and they had to return to a gate to be refueled. Sean was shocked, thinking that someone should have known the has situation before they were about to take off.

Credit: Disney

The plane turned to head back to a gate, but there was no gate immediately available, so the passengers had to wait yet again. When the plane was placed at a gate, the bridge that connected to the airplane door was also malfunctioning, so someone had to be called out to fix it, which led to more waiting. Sadly, things do not get any better for everyone on the plane.

Suddenly all of our phones dinged, announcing our flight had been canceled. That is it. No directon, no nothing. 

After 30 minutes of monkeying with the malfunctioning door, we were let out and all we were told was to go to Alaska Customer service. By the time we got there (we were the first from our plane) the line was easily a 4-5 hour wait. 

Credit: Airline Geels

Sean said that the airline informed him that they would not be able to return his luggage to him for several days, and he was forced to cancel his Walt Disney World vacation. Sean did not say whether Disney refunded him the thousands of dollars that he spent for the trip, but Disney World does state that refunds will not be issued for those who cancel one day or less before their vacation.

Hopefully, Sean will be able to work everything out with Disney and another vacation will be taken at a later date.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!