Passengers were apparently told to “make their own way home” after no buses were organised to transfer them to Bristol, reports MyLondon.
Travellers on the plane from Lanarca, Cyprus complained about the lack of transport with one saying children and pregnant women were left “freezing and tired”.
Even airline workers were in tears over the situation, said one passenger, tweeting: “@TUI you left diverted passengers at Gatwick with no bus to take them back to Bristol Airport and your staff crying because of the situation.
“24 hour delayed from Larnaca [Cyprus] and then this. Passengers told to find their own way home.”
Another customer posted: “Disgusting service from @TUIUK a plane full of people stuck at @Gatwick_Airport after being diverted here instead of Bristol and no buses laid on to transfer us.
“Small children, families and pregnant women freezing and tired.”
A third added: “@TUIUK arriving at Gatwick North terminal instead of Bristol after yesterday flight being cancelled, having no TUI rep, no coaches and when they do arrive saying it’s not her responsibility, only families with children are priority and there were no coaches so people are still waiting.”
And a fourth labelled the nightmare journey as “utterly shambolic”, saying staff at Gatwick seemed unaware of the diversion.
They wrote at 4.30am: “Lied to again – there are no coaches to get us to Bristol. Gatwick apparently had no idea we were coming.
“This is utterly shambolic. Started this journey at 10.30pm Sunday night #TUI”.
The chaotic scenes come after a TUI plane was forced to return to Manchester Airport after a “technical issue” on Monday.
The Boeing 767, heading to Cape Verde, issued a ‘Squawk 7700’ emergency shortly after take-off before circling over the Peak District for around two and a half hours.
And another TUI aircraft made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport last Friday.
Passengers were informed an hour into the flight to Turkey that there was a fault with the plane, and said they could smell fumes onboard.
Many holidaymakers have suffered long delays or cancelled flights in recent months, with the chaos affecting the recent half-term getaway over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.
The boss of budget airline Ryanair warned travellers last week that flight delays and cancellations will continue “right throughout the summer” as airports suffer amid staff shortages.
Heathrow and Gatwick have also struggled to cope with the surge in demand, with staff shortages leading to flights being cancelled, baggage handling problems and mammoth check-in queues.
Heathrow asked airlines on Monday to cut 10% of flights at two terminals in a move affecting about 5,000 passengers at Terminals 2 and 3 on about 30 flights.
A TUI spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to customers travelling on TOM6765 from Larnaca to Bristol Airport on 27 June, which was diverted to London Gatwick Airport due to operational issues.
“Our teams worked hard to secure transfers back to Bristol for all customers, however, transport strikes in London meant this took longer than usual.
“We understand that last-minute delays and diversions are incredibly disappointing and would like to reassure customers that we do everything we can to get them home as planned.
“We communicated with customers as quickly as we could including offering transport, overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments as needed. We’d like to apologise again for the inconvenience and we thank customers for their understanding.”