SNOWFALL often causes problems for people at airports, with several different issues arising from the cold weather.
Those with travel plans will often start to worry about whether or not their flights will be cancelled if snowy conditions are forecast, what they should do if so and can they get compensation.
Here are the answers to some of those questions.
Will my flight be cancelled because of the snow?
This is certainly a possibility and something that has happened many times before.
The problems that lead to cancellations tend to be with ice rather than snow, with both the aircraft and runways affected.
If there’s ice on the runway, takeoff and landing becoming increasingly dangerous.
There is equipment at the airport to remove excess snow and ice from the runway, so this may only end up causing a delay, but depending on the conditions, it can lead to a cancellation.
There’s more likely to be a cancellation if ice has formed around the plane’s wings, landing gear or at the front or rear of the plane.
This is because it can affect the pilot’s control of the aircraft, or even visibility if it forms on the window.
Visibility can also be greatly affected by snowstorms and heavy blizzards that limit sight can also keep planes on the ground.
There are a number of criteria that could determine whether or not a flight is cancelled or given the go ahead to take off, which takes the decision out of people’s hands, as explained by TravelRefund.com.
They said: “There are common protocols that stipulate a cancellation when certain criteria are met.
“Some common criteria include the amount of snowfall in a given period or whether other flights and airlines are cancelling travel due to bad weather.”
What should I do if my flight gets cancelled because of the snow?
If your flight gets cancelled, you should contact your airline immediately and find out whether they will be able to put you on another flight, or offer accommodation if it’s required.
The airline should try to get you to your destination and may even be able to get you on a flight run by another carrier.
Or they may put you on another of their flights once the snow has cleared and conditions for flying have improved.
Can I get compensation if my flight gets cancelled?
Some may no longer wish to fly due to their cancellation, in which case, most airlines will offer a refund.
However, compensation is another matter.
As The Points Guy points out: In principle, Under U.K. and EU law, an airline does not have to pay compensation if a delay or cancellation is caused by an “extraordinary circumstance”, such as extreme weather, terrorism, and so on.”
However, there are those who argue that snow in colder months is not an “extraordinary” circumstance.
Coby Benson, flight compensation expert at Bott&Co Solicitors, said airlines should be prepared for cold weather in the winter.
He told The Points Guy: “It is not exceptional to see snow in December. In fact, there was a Court of Appeal ruling where the judge ruled that extraordinary circumstances, including bad weather, has to be, in his words, ‘freakish’ or ‘wholly exceptional’.
“Airlines should be prepared to face disruption in snowy weather.”
It’s always worth a try if you want to get compensation, with the Citizens Advice explaining everything you need to apply for it.
Meanwhile, this is how you can get a refund or compensation on other flights.
Consumer expert Martin Lewis revealed what to do is your flight is grounded.
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