A FLIGHT which was scheduled to land in Bournemouth had to divert to Gatwick, leaving furious passengers out in the cold for hours. 

The TUI flight from Rhodes was due to land at Bournemouth Airport at midnight on Saturday, June 25 but was delayed for nearly two hours on the Greek island. 

Because of the delayed departure, passengers were informed about an hour into the flight that they could not land in Bournemouth anymore due to the airport having night-time closures, and would in fact be landing 110 miles away in Gatwick Airport. 

Bournemouth Echo: The TUI flight landed late in Gatwick. (PA)The TUI flight landed late in Gatwick. (PA)

Once landed, passengers then had to wait nearly four hours outside in the cold for TUI to make travel arrangements from the London airport back home. 

One passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We got to Gatwick and there was supposed to be coaches and taxis waiting for us.

“They got some people away, those with kids and people with disabilities, but about 150 of us had to wait outside for them to get permission to use Gatwick taxis. 

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth AirportBournemouth Airport

“Eventually they did get permission but three and a half hours we were still hanging about. 

“At about half six in the morning we got into a taxi and made it back home for half eight. 

The disgruntled passenger said the experience left a “bitter taste after really nice holiday,” adding: “You always believe people will have things in control, even though at the back of your mind you wonder how they will rustle up 150 cabs on a Saturday morning.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Gatwick Airport (PA)Gatwick Airport (PA)

Malcolm Swords, also on the flight, added: “If TUI had been more upfront about rerouting to Gatwick, there wouldn’t have been more confusion. 

“We were told we wouldn’t be landing in Bournemouth about an hour into the flight. 

“It was frustrating because if we were told whilst on the ground in Rhodes, people could have told people back home and alternative travel arrangements could’ve been made. 

“We were lucky that we got onto the only coach that had been organised, but it seems TUI were winging it.” 

A spokesperson for TUI said: “We’d like to apologise to customers on flight TOM6625 from Rhodes to Bournemouth on 25th June, which was diverted to Gatwick due to operational issues. 

“Our teams worked hard to secure transfers back to Bournemouth 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’d like to apologise again for the inconvenience and we thank customers for their understanding.” 

A spokesman for Bournemouth Airport said: “The airport is usually open from 6.30am to 9.30pm, and we often extend those hours to meet the needs of our airline customers.

"The flight in question was due into Bournemouth at five minutes past midnight and we had rostered our air traffic control staff accordingly.

"Unfortunately, the fight was delayed by more than two hours and was not due to land back with us until after 2am.

"That was outside our permitted air traffic control hours that day, which are very strictly regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, so we had no option but to divert the aircraft.

"We understand this must have been very frustrating for passengers but the original delays to the flight were beyond our control.”