This is what can happen when you book a cheap airfare and inevitably on budget airline because its rare to find one on a ‘premium’ or ‘full service’ airline that could be described as cheap ticket to most people. That said even full service airlines are not what they used to be.
A while ago a friend of mine and family of 3 decided to purchase a cheap airfare from Melbourne to New York. Price of the return ticket was $1299 each so quite cheap, the usual price is around $1800. The flight time was supposed to be about 42 hours with a stops in Melbourne, Sydney, Guangzhou (China) and New York, it was quite a normal route for the airline The return journey was New York, San Francisco, Guangzhou, Sydney, Melbourne. It was a significant a saving of around $1500. It was also by the same airline which was a bonus with 3+ hour in Sydney and 10+ hours transit time at each stop. Unfortunately a few things went wrong. Due to weather the flight was delayed in Sydney and China so missed the connection as it was not the same plane but the long lay over meant less time at the airport which was a bonus since the queues were even longer than Los Angeles, the airline got them on the next flight about 3 hours later hence very late arrival in New York. The flight back saw weather delays of 2 hours to San Francisco then long lay over getting out of China but getting to Sydney and Melbourne was on time. There is nothing unusual about weather delays during the time of the year in September so wasn’t unexpected. Needless to say they lost a over a day in hotel bookings and very very tired getting there and back.
Since I was meeting them there I left 1 day later due to flights on my value for money ticket of $1800 which avoided the stop over in Sydney, since I was in Sydney at the time and direct to Los Angeles. However in Los Angeles I encountered the same weather problems and delayed by 4 hours. Instead of getting to New York in the evening I arrived very late but everything else worked out great and just over 26 hours. Sure I was tired too and need a good overnight sleep and didn’t need a mother 2 days to recover.
That said the same friend with family booked a cheap return return flight to Hawaii on a budget airline. The flight was cancelled due to a sick pilot and because they did not have any spare planes or pilots, so the next flight was the same time the next day at the earliest. Even worse they had connecting flights booked on another airline to the big island! This of course means cancelling accommodation and the connecting flights. They did get another flight in the morning… It is not a common occurrence but very annoying that said even full fare airlines have that problem.
My experience with cancelled flights was one to Japan where the plane could not take off due to technical issues, there was a spare plane so the delay was 4 hours rather than the next day.