EXCLUSIVE: See how crew members get planes ready to fly in freezing temperatures

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Josh Einiger is live with the details.

Keeping planes and the people in them in top shape is always the first priority for an airline.

When the weather acts up, the people in charge are faced with an extra set of challenges.

So what changes when workers have to battle snow and ice?

Things are now back to normal at JFK Airport after Friday morning's relatively minor snowfall.

Barely an inch of snow fell, but for the experts who keep you safe in the sky, it was all hands on deck.

By midday, Delta, the biggest airline at Kennedy, painstakingly deiced 62 planes. They cleared off any speck of ice or snow that could affect their ability to fly.

It's a delicate procedure that if done wrong, could mean the difference between life and death.

"We want to make sure that you're safe when you take off and safe when you land, and that's our number one priority," said Henry Kuykendall, VP of Delta's JFK customer service operations.

Last month, on a sunny but bitterly cold day, Delta invited Eyewitness News behind the scenes.

"How I look at it is we're the last line of defense for this aircraft. We're the last people to touch this aircraft so we're responsible for it," said Rocky Telese, supervisor for Delta's deicing crews at JFK.

Telese of Long Island demonstrated the deicing process on a 767-400, one of the airline's biggest planes.

This is no mere garden hose. A heated, pressurized alcohol solution eliminates ice, and then a second spray down prevents it from reforming.

They work in the harshest conditions with sometimes anxious passengers, looking out.

"When you look at an airplane and you look at what goes into the deicing process you really kind of have to look at every single passenger that's on that airplane and take that for what it is," said Amar Singh, a manager in Delta's JFK operations.

When it comes to deicing, every second counts. Now that this plane is free of ice, it's going to have to take off in a certain amount of time or else ice could form again. If it misses that window, the pilots have to come back here and start all over again.

Friday, we watched a team of controllers make sure that wouldn't be necessary. Supported by in-house meteorologists, they monitor schedules and weather forecasts to try to stay ahead of delays.

And when planes arrive late, as some did Friday morning, they juggle catering services and bags and cabin crews to get flights back on schedule.

Delta actually spaces out its departures when it has to deice planes so there are delays that crop up because of that process, Friday night everything is back to normal.
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