Passengers stranded outside Gatwick after TUI diverts Norwich flight
- Credit: Josh Kerridge
Tired travellers were left kicking their heels for nearly two hours after being dropped at the wrong airport in the middle of the night.
A TUI flight from Rhodes bound for Norwich had been scheduled to leave at 8.15pm local time on Wednesday, July 20.
Instead weary tourists - who had been put in a hotel overnight by the flight provider -landed at 1.30am on July 22 - at Gatwick Airport.
But upon touching down the two coaches put on by TUI for customers were not big enough to host the 200 passengers.
Instead dozens were left outside, waiting for taxis to be taken home.
TUI has apologised to customers and said the delay was caused by operational issues and crew sickness.
Josh Kerridge, 29, and his partner Katie Alexander, 28, of Gorleston, were among those waiting for a taxi transfer after the flight disruption.
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Miss Alexander said: "When we think about this holiday we will remember the chaos rather than all the lovely things we did.
"By the time we got through passport control it was 1.15am and we were escorted outside. We popped to the shop to get a sandwich but some went straight out with no access to toilets or food.
"We saw an elderly lady who has assisted transport and she was left waiting in the airport for two hours. It looked like they forgot about her.
"We were given a £50 TUI voucher as compensation but they are basically committing you to travel with them again and to secure your custom."
It comes after disruption to another outgoing flight from Norwich to Rhodes which was also delayed by more than 24 hours due to a staff shortage.
A spokeswoman for TUI said: "We have kept customers updated throughout and have refunded impacted customers for one night of their holiday, alongside providing overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments as needed.
"Customers will also be entitled to EU 261 compensation and details of how to claim have also been provided.
"We understand that last minute delays are incredibly disappointing and would like to reassure customers that we do everything we can to get them away on their holidays as planned."