A British Airways flight was delayed by more than three hours because the crew were sleeping.

Passengers who were awaiting the flight from Aberdeen to Barcelona on Sunday morning were told the crew had been kept awake at their hotel by a wedding party.

The airline ordered its staff to have an added sleep break, delaying the departure until 9.50am – three hours 20 minutes after the scheduled 6.30am time, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Angry passengers turned to social networks to criticise the airline for its poor organisation.

One passenger, who did not want to be named, added: “We were told by a member of British Airways staff that the crew had been disturbed by a noisy wedding party below the accommodation at their hotel.

“This was after we had been kept waiting for nearly four hours in the departure lounge.”

A BA spokesman told the newspaper: “Our crew and cabin crew are required by law to have certain rest periods between operating flights and if that is disrupted then we have to make appropriate measures.

“Regardless of this particular issue, the alternative measures in certain circumstances might mean a replacement crew being brought in if requirements haven’t been met.

“But obviously if you don’t have a replacement crew then you gave to take other relevant measures to deal with that situation.

“This particular incident is still something that we are still looking into.

“We apologise to our customers for the delay, but the flight had to be delayed for operational reasons.

“These decisions are based on safety and security which are two principles we will never compromise.”