A fully booked SpiceJet flight reportedly left more than 40 passengers on the tarmac and was getting ready to take off before the mistake was discovered.
The Boeing 737 was scheduled to travel from Kochi to Mumbai in India but a series of incidents led to the flight being delayed by 75 minutes.
Owing to miscommunication after the delay, the left-behind passengers were taken to the wrong plane.
Flight SG154 was scheduled for take off from Kochi at 6.55pm local time on May 14 but had been delayed due to congestion at Mumbai Airport.
When it was finally ready for take-off at 8.10pm local time, the passengers were ferried between the terminal and the plane by shuttle bus.
However, a smaller Q400 aircraft, also a SpiceJet flight, was also on the tarmac.
A driver was reportedly misinformed and stopped on the apron for "close to 30 minutes" before taking the last of the passengers to the second SpiceJet plane, flight SG 3266, which was bound for Chennai.
The mistake was only discovered after the passengers showed their boarding passes to the crew on a second plane, according to the Times of India.
By then, the Mumbai flight was already near the run way and ready for take-off.
Ground staff were able to communicate the mistake in time and the pilot on flight SG 154 had to abort the take-off and return to pick up the remaining passengers according to the report.
One of the passengers, Karthik Ramani, told the Times of India: "It's strange that they didn't realise that one-fourth of the aircraft was empty, though the flight was fully booked."
The plane eventually took off at 10pm with just over three hours delay.
MailOnline Travel has contacted SpiceJet for comment.