In the face of a category 5 hurricane, Delta Air Lines meteorologists, dispatchers, pilots, cabin crew, and ground crew accomplished an incredible feat on Wednesday. As Hurricane Irma bore down San Juan, Puerto Rico, Delta sent one last flight to help evacuate a few hundred people from San Juan just before the airport closed.

DL431 approaching San Juan, Puerto Rico

Other airlines also launched flights on Wednesday morning, but those either arrived in San Juan as the winds were too strong to land or turned back before reaching Puerto Rico.

Other flights returned to their origin airports

Delta managed to time the arrival just right and DL431 landed at 11:58 local time.

DL431 landing in San Juan

Less than an hour later, the flight was back in the air to New York as Delta 302.

As DL302 departed, it followed the gap between Irma’s outer band and the core of the storm, allowing the aircraft to navigate in relatively calm air.

DL302 departing San Juan in between two bands of Hurricane Irma

Delta 302 landed back in New York at 16:15 local time, 46 minutes ahead of schedule.

Delta 302’s path back to New York

Ian Petchenik’s love of aviation began at an early age growing up next to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. As Flightradar24’s director of communications and co-host of the AvTalk podcast Ian now gets to share that passion for aviation with millions of Flightradar24 users and listeners around the world.

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