FL: Delta, Southwest Cancel Florida Flights Due to Hurricane Irma


Aviation reporter Jason Rabinowitz tracked the tricky flight using FlightRadar24 and provided live commentary on Twitter.

"You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431?"

Delta Airlines is garnering praise for what might have been a bad disaster had things not gone to plan - the company flew a plane as scheduled from NY to Puerto Rico and back as Hurricane Irma encroached on the island.

A satellite image of the plane's path almost intertwining with Irma's path left many observing the event on edge. "Everyone else has turned around". Airlines typically move their fleets away from storms, parking them at other airports out of harm's way.

The plane flew directly from NY to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then quickly turned around and came back.

A DELTA pilot managed to take on Hurricane Irma by flying directly into the path of the storm before landing safely in Puerto Rico and taking off within an hour.

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The airline has also extended suspension of its service through Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Thankfully, the tale had a happy ending and Rabinowitz's last tweet was a lighthearted one: "Guess the flight crew serves lunch now.?"

"Mostly what has happened here is that there is no electricity and a lot of trees are down", said Rafael Ojeda, a 49-year-old lawyer.

A Delta spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that the flight traveled from NY to Puerto Rico "on a safe route, touched down, picked up the people that needed to be picked up and made it back to John F. Kennedy". The airline credited its flight team and meteorology department for the successful flight, the Washington Post reported. The air velocity was around 24 knots with gusts up to 31 knots, and condition deteriorating fast it indicated everything that was below safe operating limits for the 737-900ER.

Delta released a statement later on Wednesday praising its meteorology team as "the best in the business".

Remarkably, the Delta website shows that Flight 431 landed seven minutes ahead of schedule.