Pilot Cancels Flight To Hawaii Twice Because He 'Wasn't Really Feeling It' — And Passengers Applaud

The incident highlights the gratitude felt by passengers for the pilot's cautious approach.

pilot, airline, airplane, cancel, hawaii G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock 

After a three-and-half-hour delay and having to reboard a different aircraft, an American Airlines pilot got on the intercom and announced that he would not be flying the plane because he “wasn’t really feeling it.” 

Instead of griping and venting their frustrations on the pilot and other flight crew members, the passengers erupted in applause. 

In his article detailing the flight experience, one of the passengers explained why his fellow fliers reacted the way they did. They were grateful rather than angry over the pilot’s decision. 


The pilot opted not to fly the plane since it was not 100% guaranteed that it would make it to its destination safely. 

Johnny, who refers to himself as “Johhny Jet” in his travel newsletter, was a passenger on the American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii. 

Pilot Cancels Flight To Hawaii Twice Because He Wasn't Really Feeling ItPhoto: BraunS / Canva Pro


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Johnny has flown over 3 million miles and has had his fair share of delayed flights. However, he has experienced nothing like he did the morning of April 3, 2024, while traveling to Hawaii with his family. 

The American Airlines flight was scheduled to take off at 9 a.m. “Everything was going smoothly until 8:45 a.m. when our American Airlines (AA) pilot said there was a problem with a leaking faucet in the galley,” he wrote. 

“The mechanics came on, and after almost an hour, it was clear they couldn’t fix it.” 

The passengers were forced to deplane and were instructed to wait in the gate area until they could get another aircraft. 


Pilot Cancels Flight To Hawaii Twice Because He Wasn't Really Feeling It And Passengers Applaud Photo: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock 

“Lo and behold, American found a new plane coming in from Washington, D.C., and we would be departing at 11 a.m.,” Johnny shared. “The captain welcomed us aboard and said that we had to wait for the bags to be reloaded.” 

As they were getting ready to take off around 11:55 and the flight attendants were demonstrating the safety instructions, one of the flight crew members got on the intercom and stated that the aircraft had to pull back into the gate. 


Initially, the flight attendants assumed that they had just forgotten some paperwork. However, it turned out to be a much bigger issue. 

As the plane returned to the gate, the pilot got on the intercom and announced that there was a problem with oil pressure in one of the engines. 

At 12:20, the pilot once again got on the intercom to deliver the news that the plane would not be departing after all. 

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“They’ve told us that the plane is good to go, but I’m not really feeling it. I’m not going to leave the ground if I’m not completely certain that we have an air-worthy aircraft, so I’m going to probably err on the side of caution and am refusing the aircraft,” the pilot addressed. 

“I hate to do this to you, but this is one of those tough calls I have to make, and I feel a lot more comfortable making this call than flying six hours over the water and maybe having an issue.” 

Johnny expected his fellow passengers to groan and complain over the pilot’s decision which meant that their vacations would be cut short. 

However, quite the opposite happened. The passengers burst into applause. 

“Even after already deplaning an aircraft and wanting very much to get to Hawaii as soon as possible, no one wanted to take a chance … especially when you’re flying over one of the most remote places on Earth,” he wrote. “You can’t just make an emergency landing when you’re flying to Hawaii — and everyone on board realized that and appreciated the Captain’s decision.” 


Thankfully, the passengers were able to board a different aircraft around 2:30 p.m. and made it safely to Hawaii. 

“We were all happy to be safe and in Hawaii instead of feeling cheated that we’d lost a day at the beach and a dinner with friends,” Johnny shared, expressing his gratitude and sympathy for the flight crew who still had to work after the six-hour delay without being compensated. 

Pilot Cancels Flight To Hawaii Twice Because He Wasn't Really Feeling It And Passengers Applaud Photo: EpicStockMedia / Shutterstock 


Johnny’s situation reminded him of a statement shared by UCONN’s Men’s Basketball head coach, Dan Hurley, after he also experienced a long flight delay due to mechanical issues. In an interview with ESPN, Hurley said, “A lot of thoughts because I’ve had a lot of time to think in just a stationary situation. I think what goes through your mind once you’re done kind of complaining and cursing and muttering, you just start saying to yourself, ‘You don’t deserve to show such entitlement. Such an honor to get a chance — once-in-a-lifetime experience — to play in a Final Four, coach in a Final Four.’ Once that edge wore off, [it was, ‘We’re] lucky to be here."

“We’re lucky to get an opportunity to come play in the Final Four. Who doesn’t deal with problems with the airlines?” 

Johnny compared his own experience and feelings with Hurley’s, replacing “the Final Four” with “Hawaii.” He expressed gratitude for the trip he had with his family, all thanks to the pilot’s judgment.

“Hilariously, the next day at the hotel pool, my son was playing with a little girl from Poland who said she had to take three planes to get here. My son said, ‘Me too!’” 


As aggravating as it can be to have your trip cut short, your airline pilot is responsible for even getting you there in the first place. 

Travelers know just how frustrating it can be waiting around in a crowded airport all day as their flight encounters delay after delay, whether it be harsh weather or mechanical issues. 

When it comes to safety, however, the pilots and air traffic controllers take their jobs seriously. 

Pilot Cancels Flight To Hawaii Twice Because He Wasn't Really Feeling It And Passengers Applaud Photo: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock 


The engine is a critical component of the aircraft, and any malfunction or trouble with it can pose a significant risk to the safety of the flight. 

Pilots prioritize safety above all else, so if they detect any issues with the engine during pre-flight checks or while in the air, they will typically opt not to fly or will land the aircraft as soon as it is safe to do so.  

Your life and safety are far more important than missing some time at the beach or a dinner reservation. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.