Passengers flying into Bristol airport faced chaos as staff had finished for the day.
Delays hit the airport due to poor weather on Sunday, resulting in nine flights arriving after 11pm.
The runway was due to close at 11pm and ground crew clocked off as usual, before nine delayed flights had landed, which meant remaining staff members had to be drafted in to help passengers off their planes and to offload baggage.
Eight easyJet flights were affected, from Rome, Edinburgh, Geneva, Toulouse, Glasgow, Venice, Berlin and Malaga, as well as a Thomas Cook flight from Lanzarote.
Passengers on the easyJet flight from Berlin reported a 15-minute wait after their plane had stopped on the runway, because there was no-one available to move the steps
into place. Some passengers who had expected to land at 10.10pm did not leave the airport until more than three hours later.
The chaos started after four flights were diverted to Cardiff during the day due to bad weather, causing a knock-on effect.
The affected flights were easyJet routes to Palma, Nice and Alicante and a KLM flight to Amsterdam.
Rosa Hill, 48, of Henleaze, was returning home from a weekend in Berlin with her husband, James, 52, and did not leave the airport until 1.35am yesterday.
She said: "It was a nightmare. When we got off the plane we were waiting for our luggage for about an hour and a half.
"They must have known there was going to be problems by 9pm so should have been able to sort something out."
Paul Rankin, of Bristol International Airport, apologised for the delay and said the airport would review its contingency plans to improve things if a similar situation arose again.
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