An attempt to send a plane to collect the passengers was derailed because a night curfew is in place so as not to disturb the reptiles.
The unfortunate series of events began on Sunday afternoon when the pilot of the EasyJet plane that was due to depart Zante — also known as Zakynthos — for London Gatwick airport announced that it had a problem with a wing flap. The passengers were ordered off the aircraft.
Engineers believed the problem had been fixed Monday, but it reoccurred before boarding, the budget British carrier said.
EasyJet said it planned to send a replacement plane, but the night curfew put a stop to that. The planes fly over a beach where the loggerhead turtles breed.
About a quarter of the passengers managed to get home on other flights. Others only got home on Tuesday.
Some passengers complained they were kept in the dark during the incident.
Peter LePain tweeted: "@easyJet Zante chaos. Day 3, easyjet just asked for £5 to place hand luggage in hold. I only asked as I have carried it for 56 hours now."
@easyJet Zante chaos. Day 3, easyjet just asked for £5 to place hand luggage in hold. I only asked as I have carried it for 56 hours now.— Peter LePain (@PeterLePain) August 1, 2017
Russ Wordie added: “@easyJet your (sic) customer service is appalling, my son has been stuck in Zante airport for the last 24 hours no sign of a rep.”
@easyJet your customer service is appalling, my son has been stuck in Zante airport for the last 24 hours no sign of a rep— Russ Wordie (@Russwordie) July 31, 2017
Laura Plumptre tweeted: “Got a Thomas Cook flight online to E.Midlands from whilst penned in at Zante airport waiting for non existent Gatwick flight...”
“We do all possible to try and minimise delays and as such planned to send a replacement aircraft,” EasyJet said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, due to the night curfew rule at the airport, we were unable to get the replacement aircraft into the airport."
“We are very sorry for the delay and thank customers for their understanding.”
The airline said passengers were given hotel accommodation and expenses and will also be entitled to compensation.