The payment_address call is happening simultaneously with the shipping_method or payment_method AJAX call. So on the server side loads the session before the shipping_method/payment_method calls have updated it. If the payment_address call then completes AFTER the shipping_method/payment_method, the session is resaved without the shipping methods and payment methods, therefore preventing customers from proceeding through the checkout.
This is a critical bug and it looks like this bug has been here for a LONG time. I've seen a few other reports on the forum that looks like this bug, but the issue never appeared to get resolved, and I guess the users just gave up and chose another platform. I get the feeling this affects a small number of stores a lot, whilst others are so infrequent that it is unnoticed. We're using a LOT of plugins on our site, which has probably affected the performance in just the right way for this issue to happen a lot.
I think this issue is critical enough to justify a new patch release even on its own.
You've address a commit about an ongoing issue you experienced. The commit is still opened.
Programmer / Opencart Tester
There are quite a few bugs caused by race conditions. A more general solution is probably needed for the 3.x branch.
Sadly I can't see that ever happening. Possibly doesn't affect the master as that chaines the AJAX calls.
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