Yet Another Time, Delta Braves a Hurricane (And Wins)

Sep 21, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Delta is flying into a hurricane. Seemingly emboldened after being the last to fly into San Juan (SJU) Category 5 Hurricane Irma, the Atlanta-based airline repeated the feat on Tuesday by flying into SJU hours later than any other airline ahead of Hurricane Maria’s destruction of the airport.

Despite Hurricane Maria’s forecast pass just north of Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago, Dominican Republic, Delta is continuing to operate in and out of the airport. Over the last 24 hours, Delta has been the only airline to fly into the airport and the only airline to depart since JetBlue’s last two flights left Wednesday night ahead of the storm:

STI departures arrivals board
Image captured on FlightAware.

Unfazed by Hurricane Maria passing just north of its destination, Delta #452 took off from New York City’s JFK airport shortly after 2pm Eastern time. Like its other flights into the single-runway Santiago airport, Delta used a Boeing 737-800. Today’s aircraft would be registration N3750D, a 2001 build.

However, unlike Delta’s other notable flights around hurricanes, this approach didn’t go as smoothly. As the flight approached Santiago — with the center of Hurricane Maria less than 100 miles north-northwest of the airfield — the flight entered a holding pattern. Considering there aren’t any other aircraft in the areas and there’s an especially strong part of Hurricane Maria just north of the airport, we can probably chalk that up to the weather.

After circling four times, Delta 452 began final approach and stuck the landing on the first try on the 8,595-foot runway.

Delta turning on STI runway
Image captured on FlightRadar24. Note: weather overlay has been turned off for this image.

Delta flight #556 is scheduled to depart STI at 6:59pm. However, considering the slightly-delayed gate arrival at 6:25pm, it’s likely that this departure will be delayed.

Delta 556 return

As of publishing, the aircraft is still on the ground in STI. We will update this post as the story develops.


Update 7:28pm: Delta flight #556 pushed back at 7:19pm, which is 20 minutes after the scheduled departure. This means that the Delta Boeing 737-800 spent 54 minutes at the gate.

Delta Flight 556 pushback 20 mins late

Considering Delta’s much faster turns in San Juan (SJU), we may be able to chalk up part of this delay to the current air traffic control delays at JFK — which are currently averaging 94 minutes.


Update 7:43pm: Delta flight #556 took off at 7:36pm and is currently following a narrow band of relatively-light precipitation on its way around the front end of Hurricane Maria and up the US coast:

Delta 556 departure


Update 8:47pm: Delta flight #556 is in the clear. Just another day in the office for those Delta pilots. Well done by the entire Delta team and air traffic control to make this flight operate safely in and out of Santiago, Dominican Republic.

DL556 survived

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.