Holidaymakers suffered a delay of more than 39 hours at Manchester airport waiting for a flight to Corfu.
More than 100 passengers were due to fly at 11am on Monday, but were told their flight was going to be late due to a “technical fault”.
The service, operated by Lithuanian airline Small Planet, was delayed several more times and eventually left at about 2am on Wednesday.
Small Planet apologised on Facebook for “all the inconveniences”.
Paul Kenny, who booked the flight through tour operator Olympic Holidays, told the BBC: “At first it was just the usual delay, we had been called to the departure gate. It was saying ‘wait a couple more hours’ – then two more hours before any more information.
“I think what people got angry about was there was never any detail. There was contradictory information on Twitter.
“We stood around very patiently for long periods of time [on Tuesday] and there were raised voices at times. Bearing in mind we had been going 20 hours by then.”
Small Planet apologised for passengers’ inconvenience and stress and said this was “one of the most difficult technical situations we’ve experienced in some time”.
The hydraulic system needed immediate repair, it said, adding: “flight safety is an absolute and foremost priority”.
The carrier “actively” looked for a replacement aircraft but no options were available until Wednesday, it said.
The statement added: “We made every effort to take care of [passengers] by organising welfare as well as hotels with meals and transportation so that they could wait for their flights as comfortably as possible.”
Passengers can apply for compensation, according to EU261 rules, on the Small Planet website, a spokesman added.
Olympic Holidays said: “The team at Olympic Holidays sincerely apologise for the flight delay today and the disruption that it has caused to our customers.
“This was due to a technical issue with Small Planet Airlines and we have been in constant contact with them to ensure that this is resolved as quickly as possible.
“Customers at Manchester airport affected by the delay were provided with hotel accommodation and refreshments during this time.
“Customers who wish to cancel their holiday due to the delay impacting their future schedules have been advised that they are able to do so with a full refund by contacting our customer services team.”
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