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Thu 1 Mar 2018 08:58 AM

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Emirates' snow-affected passengers offered change of date

Etihad Airways also warned passengers to expect delays due to Siberian cold front sweeping across Europe

Emirates' snow-affected passengers offered change of date
A picture taken through the window of a landing airplane shows snow covered aircrafts on the tarmac of Sofia airport on February 26 2018. Photo: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

Emirates passengers travelling from the UK and Ireland to Dubai have been given the option of changing the date of the flights due to heavy snow, the airline has announced.

The airline said passengers who are booked to travel from the UK to Dubai up until March 3 have the option of changing the date, and postponing their departure up to seven days later than originally booked.

Emirates said customers are also advised to check the status of their flights on www.emirates.com/flightstatus for the latest information regarding their flights. In addition, customers should also have their contact details updated so the airline can send the latest information on flights from the UK.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways has warned passengers to expect delays with its flights to and from Europe.

"Some Etihad Airways flights from the UK, Ireland and European cities are experiencing delays to due to heavy snow, ice and high winds, which is likely to continue throughout the week," an Etihad Airways spokesperson said. 

"We are doing all we can to minimise the effect of adverse weather conditions on our flight schedules, and have contingency plans in place should there be any disruption.

"We advise guests holding bookings over the next few days to check the status of their flights at etihad.com/flightstatus or through the Etihad Airways mobile app before proceeding to the airport."

Siberian cold front

Europe has been hit by heavy snowfall in the past week, with further snow and icy blizzards expected in the coming day or so, as the region shivers in a deadly deep-freeze that has gripped countries from the far north to the Mediterranean south.

Schools are shut and weather agencies predict the brutal cold will continue as the death toll from the freezing snap rose to around 48 since last Friday.

The Siberian cold front - dubbed the "Beast from the East" in Britain, "Siberian bear" by the Dutch and the "snow cannon" by Swedes - has blanketed huge swathes of the region in snow and played havoc with transport networks.

In Scotland, which saw Glasgow airport closed until Thursday morning and most flights cancelled from Edinburgh, emergency services struggled to help drivers stranded for hours on a major motorway, with images showing scores of vehicles trapped in the snow late Wednesday.

Further blasts of wintery weather are expected, with authorities in Ireland and normally-balmy southern France among those to have issued red alerts late Wednesday.

Temperatures again plunged below -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) overnight in numerous parts of Europe - even hitting -36C in Glattalp, 1,850 metres (6,000 feet) above sea level in the Swiss mountains.

Ahead of a predicted thaw towards the end of the week, both Belgium and Switzerland marked their coldest nights of the winter so far.

And in the south of France, motorists were stuck on icy roads as further flurries fell overnight.

The Herault area was placed on red alert after a "major" snowfall, while earlier Wednesday residents in Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz zoomed down streets of the beach resorts on skis.

British forecasters predict extreme weather will continue to grip the country into the weekend.

'Coldest job in Austria'

Even professionals are feeling the chill.

Austrians were reserving particular sympathy for Ludwig Rasser and Norbert Daxbacher, two employees at the Sonnblick weather station 3,109 metres above sea level.

Handed the honour of having the "coldest job in Austria" by the Oesterreich tabloid, Rasser and Daxbacher are charged with heading out to measure the temperature three times a day.

The process takes an hour in temperatures of -32C -- which "with the windchill feels like -60," Rasser said.

With AFP

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