One of the reasons air fares are the same or cheaper than they were 10 years ago is because all contingency has been cut, especially in smaller stations. When things go wrong airlines can’t cope, whether its BA, EK, United or whoever.
That’s the price we pay these days.
I remember being in the same position in Prague when the volcano fired up, 2 BA staff faced with a plane full of passengers. Fortunately we got straight onto the travel agent who sorted things but sometimes these situations are unavoidable.