plane snow GETTY

SAFETY FIRST: Airports will often experience delays as the de-ice and get rid of runway snow

Severe weather conditions have lead to multiple flight disruptions in the UK.

The “Beast from the East” has brought heavy snow to much of Britain over the past few days and the extreme weather is set to continue.

British Airways has already cancelled more than 42 flights from Heathrow and easyJet have warned they may face cancellations or delays.

But can planes still fly in the snow and is it safe?

Britain battles the BIG FREEZE: Snowfalls and ice as UK braves -11C

Heavy snow has blanketed Britain as temperatures drop to –11C. The UK has been issued with a MET Office weather warning. Lorries are parked on the A66 during a blizzard in DurhamPA
Lorries are parked on the A66 during a blizzard in Durham

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a long list of flight requirements for commercial aircraft.

This means planes are designed to operate in extreme weather conditions such as snow or strong winds.

According to veteran airline captain and aviation analyst John Nance, weather-related flight cancellations are rarely due to the plane.

"Usually your flight can't operate because the airport shut itself down, or the airline decided to ground a large number of flights for operational reasons," he told National Geographic.

plane de-icedGETTY

DELAYS: In very cold weather planes have to take off straight after being de-iced

However, too much snow on the runway can be a problem and can often cause delays or cancellations.

“If aircraft runways, taxiways and aprons are contaminated with snow and ice then that needs to be cleared, which takes time, and in turn reduces airfield capacity,” Paul Beauchamp from Nats, the UK’s air traffic control provider told the Telegraph.

“Add to that the potential for low visibility and the whole operation has to slow down to keep [the airport] safe.”

In very cold conditions planes will have to be completely de-iced before they can take off.

The plane will then have to take off as soon as this has been done to prevent the ice building up again. This process can cause delays on the plane.

How can I find out if my flight is affected by the weather?

To find out if your flight is running on time go to Skyscanner’s arrival and departure board, which is updated in real time.

The website claims to have “all the live, accurate flight information you need” from airports around the UK.

'Beast from the East' to POUND Britain with snow blasts and freezing temperatures

Siberian winds are set to sweep Britain from the east and bring even more snowThe UK is braced for another big freeze from the 26thwx charts
The UK is braced for another big freeze from the 26th

What should I do if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

Your airline should get in contact with you to inform you that your flight has been delayed or cancelled.

If your flight is cancelled due to snow then you should be offered a refund or booked on an alternative flight.

Can I claim compensation?

Airlines are not legally obliged to provide compensation if the flight was cancelled “due to reasons beyond the airlines control”, according to the EU flight compensation rules.

However, new technology developed by FlightDelayRepay means customers can now claim for weather-related delays.

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