TUI flight from Lanzarote to Edinburgh stops in London and passengers are told they will take a bus 450-miles home
The travel operator has apologised to flyers and reportedly offered all passengers 400 euros compensation
Holidaymakers have claimed their travel company told them the remainder of the journey would be completed by road because of rules over flying hours.
However, passengers have demanded to know what the problem was not flagged up ahead of takeoff.
'Worst service ever'
An estimated 200 travellers were on the flight which left Arricife at 9pm local time on Thursday.
It landed at Gatwick airport around 1am today and passengers waited another two-and-a-half hours for a bus to a nearby hotel.
There was then an angry response from the passengers when TUI revealed that they would be travelling the remainder of the journey by bus, rather than flying home.
Eileen Bryan, 67, from Stranraer, said: "Just experienced the worst service ever from TUI. Flight diverted to Gatwick because the crew ran out of legal flying time.
"Surely this would have been obvious before they actually left? Arrived in Gatwick shortly after 1am to be told we will be put up in a hotel and then bussed to Edinburgh at 12.30 today.
"By the time the total shambles of an organisation got the buses to transport us to the hotel it is now after 4am.
"The transfer to Edinburgh by bus will apparently take eight hours, then we have another three hours to travel. Will never fly TUI again."
Steven Inglis tweeted: "Very poor show TUI dropping 200+ off at Gatwick instead of Edinburgh at 2am, must have known prior to flight the crew's hours wouldn't allow the flight to reach Edinburgh."
Pilot hours guideline
There are strict rules about how much a pilot can legally fly - in seven consecutive days it must not exceed 60 duty hours, while 14 days it is 110 and 28 days it is 190 hours.
A spokesperson for TUI told the Daily Mail: "We’d like to sincerely apologise to customers on flight TOM1455 from Lanzarote to Edinburgh last night, which was diverted to London Gatwick due to operational issues.
"All customers were provided with hotel accommodation and meals in London Gatwick. We have arranged transport to Edinburgh by coach today which will include refreshments. For customers who chose to book their own onward travel to Edinburgh, we are providing a contribution payment.
"The safety and wellbeing of customers and crew is always our highest priority. We know this is a frustrating experience for customers, and we would once again like to apologise and thank them for their patience and understanding."