Flight JQ16 was due to leave on Tuesday January 24 at 9pm but did not leave until January 26 around 4.15pm.
It meant passengers were forced to spend a night in the terminal as temperatures outside dropped to below zero and the airport’s heating was turned off.
Tony Zammit’s sister, Kate, was one of the passengers stranded at Kansai International Airport, in Osaka.
Zammit told 9News.com.au the Cairns-bound passengers were not allowed to leave, and had “little food” and minimal bedding.
“The first night, due to snowfall, passengers had to sleep in the airport waiting room,” he said.
“At 5am, staff finally provided a blanket, a muesli bar and one small bottle of water in a freezing room.”
The following day, the flight was constantly delayed and then cancelled at 9pm.
“Passengers were even lining up and staff were checking tickets before the cancellation.
“Without any announcement from Jetstar, the plane kept getting delayed,” he said.
“Staff told passengers to wait another 20 minutes and 20 minutes became several hours before being cancelled at 9pm.”
For the second night, passengers were allowed to leave the airport, find a hotel and transport, with the airline covering some of the costs.
He said passengers were told they would depart at 10am the next day but the flight did not leave until about 4.15pm.
“Passengers are hungry and there are long queues to get into the airport convenience store to buy food, if it is still available,” he said before the plane finally departed.
Earlier, traveller Jack Eather told 9News the passengers were confused and angry because they had nowhere to go.
“No food or anything open – we asked for food they said no, the heating was off so it was freezing, it was snowing outside,” Eather said.
A spokesperson for Jetstar said “due to heavy snowfall… our crew couldn’t reach the airport which meant customers already there couldn’t leave”.