Twenty-five passengers, including a 14-year-old boy, were removed from a plane by police after the captain refused to fly due to reports of disorderly behaviour.
The flight had been due to depart Gatwick North Terminal for Costa Rica on Monday morning but was delayed by three hours, reports Press Association.
The initial delay was caused by "operational reasons", Thomson Airways said, but passengers were subjected to a further wait due to a "customer incident", which saw police called to reports of disruptive behaviour.
A group of 24 men and one boy, some of whom Sussex Police said had been disorderly, were escorted from the plane.
A police spokesman said: "There was no violence as the officers escorted them away, and no evidence of criminal offences on the aircraft or in the airport."
Thomson Airways apologised to customers for the inconvenience.
A spokeswoman added: "We operate a zero-tolerance policy in relation to any disruptive behaviour and several customers were asked to leave the aircraft. We worked as quickly as possible to ensure the other customers could get away on their holiday.
"Customer and crew safety is our priority at all times and we would like to reassure everyone that incidents of this nature are extremely rare."
A spokesman for the British Air Transport Association said: "The vast majority of passengers reach their destination having had a safe and enjoyable journey.
"While disruptive behaviour remains rare, as this latest incident shows it can have a big impact - on fellow passengers, on employees, and on the disruptive passengers themselves. The decision to off-load the passengers demonstrates how our member airlines take a zero-tolerance approach to this issue."
Julian Bray Aviation Expert comments: "In legal terms the Captain is the Commander and under law, has absolute discretion over the passengers and/ or cargo carried on his/her aircraft. Anyone can be denied boarding, and at any stage of the process. Even if the passenger is already on board, a request for removal (possibly with Police assistance) can be made. No reason need be given, although evidence would be preserved for any later enquiry/ legal process."
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com