Plane passengers rage after Wizz Air dumps them 300km from destination

Budget carrier Wizz Air is facing a barrage of complaints from angry passengers after a nightmare journey ended with flyers more than 300km from their destination in the middle of the night. To make matters worse, they had to make their own way home.

The flight was due to take off from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel at 9.25pm on Sunday (local time) for London Gatwick, UK. However, delays of more than three hours meant the plane lost its slot at Gatwick.

Passengers were told the flight would instead land at London Luton, which caused another delay as extra fuel was needed.

But 30 minutes before landing in the UK, the pilots said they could no longer land at Luton as the plane had again lost its slot, so they were heading to Doncaster Sheffield Airport instead, 320km from Gatwick.

Before landing at 3.15am, the passengers were told that coaches would take them the three-and-a-half hour journey to Gatwick, however, once the plane touched down the crew "disappeared" and there were no buses, one flyer told The Mirror.

Hardly any taxis were available, and many passengers had a long wait as the airport "wasn't prepared".

Shachaf Karvat said on landing there was no help from Wizz Air staff: "Airport security tried to help us and they managed to get us some water and biscuits. All the shops were closed and there was just one taxi waiting.

"No one expected 200 passengers in the middle of the night would land in Doncaster," he told The Mirror.

Some of those who did grab a cab ended up paying as much as £450 ($A792).

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One passenger, Adar Cohen, told The Independent he doubts he will ever fly the airline again.

"We went through passport control and there were just a few Wizz Air people about. Everyone was wondering 'Where are these coaches?' They then said we couldn't get coaches, there was no availability. They advised us to get a taxi and keep the receipt. Then they disappeared! I don't even know how they got out of there," said Cohen.

Another passenger, Tal Dekel-Daks, said they were treated poorly on the flight as well.

"They didn't give us anything when we were waiting on the tarmac for three hours (in Tel Aviv) - no water, no snacks. The trolley came around if you wanted to pay for something," said Dekel-Daks. "I've never flown them before and I don't think I would again."

A Wizz Air spokesperson said the airline "sincerely apologises for the inconvenience and disruption" about the rerouting the flight. Staff shortages and absences at Air Traffic Control in London Gatwick meant the plane could not land there and Doncaster Sheffield "was the only airport which was able to help at such short notice".

The spokesperson said everything was done to help the passengers on landing, "however the UK Easter holidays - and lack of available bus and train transfers - made this extremely difficult to manage".

Customers were asked to keep their taxi receipts and get in contact with the airline.

Stuff.co.nz