Gavin Newman, who works at a recording studio in west London, was on the flight with his wife and two children which was scheduled for 3.55pm on Sunday.
He said it was initially delayed for two hours before they were finally let on the plane at 6pm only to them find themselves stuck on board until 11pm.
The 48-year-old from Haywards Heath said the first inkling of a problem was after about an hour when “the pilot came on and said they were having a few issues getting off the ground”.
Later they were told the flight, which should have taken under two hours, was delayed because around 30 planes were backed up in front of them and there was a shortage of ground staff.
He said: “We thought it might be the weather but there were loads of other planes taking off then I thought perhaps because it is EasyJet we are perhaps bottom of the pile.”
They finally got off the plane at 11pm where they were held in a departure lounge for an hour-and-a-half until the doors were opened after a pregnant woman fainted and medics came in.
Mr Newman said: “All the kids were pretty scared at this point including mine, my daughter was pretty upset, because they didn’t know what was going on and there were people shouting and swearing but again nobody at EasyJet came up to talk to us or tell us what was going on then I got a text message at 1130 from EastJet saying my flight had been cancelled”.
He said his “pretty traumatised” family were among the lucky ones as they lived nearby and only had carry-on luggage, adding: “They basically just threw all the Italians who were on the flight to go home into the night and no-one from EasyJet ever came to explain what was going on.
“We went through customs to get out and the Italian guy in front of us was asked ‘Where have you come from?’ and he said ‘You have got to be joking about 50 metres away in the departure lounge’.”
A spokeswoman for the airline apologised and said the flight was cancelled after it was delayed by thunderstorms which “meant the crew reached their safety regulated operating hours”.
She said: “We did all possible to minimise the impact of the disruption, notifying customers directly of their options to rebook or request a refund, providing hotel accommodation where possible and advised customers required to book their own that they will be reimbursed.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority and while this was outside of our control we apologise for any difficulty experienced by customers who were affected by the weather disruption.”