delta airlines flight dl302 approaches puerto rico hurricane irma

Screengrab via Jason Rabinowitz/Twitter

Risky Delta flight into Hurricane Irma leads to Twitter suspense story

The plane took less than an hour between landing and takeoff.


Phillip Tracy

Internet Culture

Published Sep 6, 2017

Anyone following Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) on Twitter Wednesday was treated to a nail-biting thrill ride as he provided updates on a Delta aircraft that flew into Puerto Rico as Hurricane Irma reached land.

The entire tweetstorm played out like a B-rate suspense film, but the danger was very real. Rabinowitz first noticed several flights turning around just short of Puerto Rico and heading back up to the mainland as Irma approached.

It looked like the skies near Puerto Rico would be clear of aircraft until one daring Delta flight was spotted heading from JFK airport directly toward the hurricane.

Weather reports showed conditions in Puerto Rico degrading as the hurricane barreled toward the capital of San Juan. Still, the tiny airline symbol that denotes Delta’s Boeing 737 airliner continued its path toward the small Caribbean island.

At this point, people started to get very worried for those inside the plane.

Fortunately, the plane landed without issue—but the clock was on—DL431 needed to get out of Puerto Rico before the eye of the storm hit.

Delta quickly got everyone off the plane and bumped its departure to “early arrival.” As you can see, the flight was right in the arms of the hurricane as it departed San Juan airport. As Rabinowitz notes, DL302 was only on the ground between flights for 52 minutes including taxiing.

While we don’t yet have footage from the Delta flight, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted a terrifying video of its planes flying through Hurricane Irma, whose winds have reached 180 miles per hour. This should give you a good idea of the monster passengers on DL302 saw when they looked out the window.

To learn more about Hurricane Irma, including ways to track the storm, check out our previous coverage.

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*First Published: Sep 6, 2017, 6:24 pm CDT