Delta is Flying Into the Path of a Category 5 Hurricane... Again
Update: Somehow we underestimated Delta. Earlier, it looked like Delta flight #2571 would be the last Delta flight into San Juan (SJU) before Hurricane Maria's arrival. Instead, Delta flight #549 from Atlanta (ATL) to SJU will take the prize of being the last Delta flight to operate to the island before the Category 5 hurricane arrives. The story below has been updated to reflect this new flight.
Two weeks ago, we brought you the story on Delta flying into San Juan (SJU) right before Hurricane Irma reached the island. The flight landed right before the airport was hit by a band of the storm and departed immediately after that band passed and the core of the storm arrived, weaving through a narrow gap to escape the area.
Well, Delta's in the middle of doing it again. Delta flight #549 departed Atlanta (ATL) at 4:04pm on Tuesday for San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín Airport (SJU). Typically scheduled for a 6:07pm departure, Delta pushed the flight forward two hours. Not long into the flight, the flight earned the distinction of being the only inbound flight into SJU, at a time when there was heavy traffic going the opposite direction:
Just like two weeks ago, Delta is operating a Boeing 737-900 (registration N813DN) for what's sure to be the last flight in and out of the airport.
Earlier in the afternoon, Delta's flight #2571 operated from New York City's JFK to SJU. The flight — operated by yet another Boeing 737-900 — landed among a slew of other flights including seven JetBlue flights and one United flight. In this pack of last-minute flights, United #2803 from Orlando (MCO) would be the last to arrive.
Delta flight #2571 was especially interesting, having to fly around Hurricane Jose on its way into the path of Category 5 Hurricane Maria:
In light of the imminent storm, Delta has shared that it has capped fares at $199 for one-way, nonstop flights departing San Juan (SJU), Punta Cana (PUJ), Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI) and Santo Domingo (SDQ) through September 21 and is temporarily waiving baggage and in-cabin pet fees for passengers departing SJU and "several other airports in the region."
The airline has followed American's lead by doubling the number of flights between SJU and its hub in Atlanta (ATL) on Tuesday in addition to operating flights much later into the night to give more people a chance at evacuating before the storm descends on the island.
Finally, Delta has issued a new travel waiver, valid from now through September 26, in addition to the existing waivers due to Hurricane Irma. The waiver applies for the four airports mentioned above.
This post will be updated as the story develops.