Why? Well, the trip was for her children to visit their father, probably the last chance, due to his illness. She spent so much money (including a non-refundable five-figure check for the beach house) that she actually had the trip insured.
You can tell this is going to be a bad one.
After a year of planning, the day before they're set to take off, United tells her the flight had been canceled. This is last minute, but still understandable in the constantly-changing world of air travel. Maybe the engine fell off the plane. Who knows, but flights get canceled and dammit, there's just nothing an airline can do.
She relayed this to another family member, who said that was strange because he in fact was still booked on the flight and everything was a go. Confused, Cabral went back to the airline, who admitted the flight had not in fact been canceled, and said that instead their computer had lost her reservations. Cabral was even more confused by this, because she had gotten an email asking her to confirm her reservations the night before.
After calling them on their second line of bullshit, United just came out and admitted they'd bumped her and her entire family, all eight tickets, from the flight for no particular reason.
But that's OK, because United then offered to make it up to her, by sending her family in pairs to different islands of Hawaii on different days of the week. When she pointed out how retarded that was, they offered to put her on a flight five days into their week-long vacation. Finally, they just gave her a refund.
Some airports display oversized dong sculptures to symbolize the gigantic raping you are likely to receive.
You'd think that'd be the end of it, but the buttfuckery continues. Remember that insurance policy? Well, Cabral's claim was denied, primarily because United refused to write her a letter admitting they had fucked up.
Remember the father Cabal's children were supposed to see? The one who was dying? He passed away before another visit could be arranged, although we can't confirm as to whether natural causes or a United Airlines assassin were responsible.
By the way, if you needed more confirmation that "my family is dying" doesn't get you special service at United, there's the tale of this woman who rushed to the airport to catch a flight to go see her dying mother.
However, standing between the rushing woman and the soon-to-depart airplane was a ticket agent who refused to process her reservation because she had to go on break, effectively informing the poor woman that her final moments with her mother were worth less than a grape soda and a package of Ding Dongs.
For more depressing stories about airport help, check out The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done by Airport Security. Or read about some failures to help outside of the airport, in 5 Horrifying Tales Of 911 Incompetence.
And check out Cracked.com's Top Picks because your flight's going to be canceled anyway.