Stranded passengers have accused British Airways of "treating them inhumane" on a 77-hour "nightmare journey" from Orlando to London.
The eight-hour BA flight 2036 was scheduled to depart Orlando on Thursday at 19:25 local time (12:25 pm British time) – but passengers did not land in the UK until Sunday.
After the aircraft that Orlando had finally left, was forced by a technical error to get out of a previous plane, it was redirected by BA due to a "small technical problem" and had to land in New York.
Pictures of children sleeping on the floor of the airport and complaints about food, drink or accommodation were shared on social media and described to reporters.
"BA's customer service was disgusting, absolutely abominable," said passenger Sarah Wilson to the BBC.
The mother of four children from Undy, Monmouthshire, whose flights to Florida cost more than £ 4,000, said that her £ 11,000 "dream vacation" for Disney World was "a nightmare".
She accused BA of "abandoning their passengers when they most needed help."
"The passengers were treated inhumane, all we wanted was to eat and drink, sleep and get informed – and they failed in every way, no matter what they claim," she said.
BA has apologized and said, "We know this was an exhausting and frustrating experience for our customers, and we apologized for the long delay in their flight."
The incident coincided with the New York Marathon, which made the hotels busier than usual.
Despite claims by customers that they were sleeping on the floor of the terminal and were not receiving food or drinks, a spokesman for BA said, "Customers were rebooked when possible, and although limited hotel rooms were available, our teams took care of customers on the ground in our world-class lounge that provides linens, food and drinks to make sure you feel comfortable during your stay. "
Imagine a little daughter spending her birthday in a terminal, sitting on a rock-hard ground and not knowing when to eat, sleep or stay in a safe place to stay. Follow in the footsteps of this family and think about what you do.# BA2036 @British Airways
– Casey Wilson (@ caseywilson98) November 3, 2018
Some passengers have shared their experiences on Twitter.
Rosie Slater Watts from Banbury shared two pictures of her children sleeping on the floor.
"# BA2036 unfortunate service, I can not believe that our kids had to sleep five and a half hours at the airport terminal while guessing they would take care of us," she wrote.
Another mother wrote, "Imagine if a little daughter had spent her birthday in a terminal, sitting on a rock-hard ground, not knowing when to eat, sleep, or have a safe place to stay.
"Follow in the footsteps of this family and think about what you are doing. # BA2036 @British_Airways."
John Chapman shared a photo of his daughter sleeping under a thin blanket on the floor.
"@British_Airways 7-year-old cancer survivor sleeping on the ground at Terminal 7, thanks for nothing," he wrote.
He complained about a lack of communication until "after 3 and a few hours a very good BA employee appeared and the information flowed on and we put everything right".
A new plane was sent to New York on Saturday morning to pick up the stranded passengers.
In July, British Airways apologized for a "system problem" Dozens of flights to and from Heathrow Airport had to be canceled.