Passengers were left trapped inside planes and unable to disembark at Paphos Airport in western Cyprus, after ground workers downed tools on Wednesday.
The two-hour strike on Wednesday was called by staff of Swissport and LGS amid a pay dispute with employers.
“I’m one of the passengers stuck on one of the affected aeroplanes sitting on the Tarmac waiting to get off the plane to start our family holiday,” emailed British tourist Wendy Parkin.
“I think it disgraceful how we are left sitting here with lots of young children on board crying and screaming we should be let off the plane. I pray the strike stops at 5pm as my young children can not cope being stuck on this plane for much longer its inhuman doing this to such a large number of families with children,” she added.
The action affected 23 flights – leaving arrivals stranded in jetliners and departing passengers queuing outside the airport.
A statement from the Cyprus Tourist Organisation criticised the strike:
It is tragic that at the peak of such a year, internal problems such as in this particular case can damage the industry and our country. We hope that wiser choices will be made and that calm will be maintained for the good of Cyprus’ tourism.
The airport has long been beset with problems stemming from a shortage of immigration staff.
Frustration has been brewing for months at the airport where a chronic staff shortage is causing regular long and frustrating delays for inbound and outbound passengers.