Barry Sim tried to board the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but could only get one seat, the BBC reported.
Instead, he and his wife Izzy booked on to a KLM flight with their baby son.
Nine Britons are now known to have died when flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine yesterday.
Officials from the airline said 298 people were on board the Boeing 777-200, which was apparently shot down over the war-torn country.
After hearing of the crash, Mr Sim told the BBC: "You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going."
Mr Sim, thought to be from Methlick in Aberdeenshire, said he was "philosophical" about continuing to "go about your life", saying he believed the couple should take the KLM flight, despite his wife's misgivings about the danger of another crash.
"In my mind, lightning never strikes twice in the same place so I am still philosophical that you get on the flight and you go about your life. I know my wife doesn't feel like that. Probably the last thing she wants to do now is fly, especially to Kuala Lumpur."
Mrs Sim said: "There must have been someone watching over us and saying 'You must not get on that flight'.
"We are very loyal to Malaysia Airlines and we always want to fly with Malaysia Airlines."
She added that her husband usually disliked flying with KLM.
"But, do you know what? At this moment we are so glad to be on that KLM flight rather than that Malaysia Airlines flight," she said.