It has been widely reported that Delta operated a Boeing 747 on a special, evaculation flight from Detroit to Florida (Orlando, specifically) on 8 September 2017, in advance of Hurricane Irma. DL 2517 was planned to depart Detroit at 12:15 pm local time and return from Orlando at 4:00 pm. The two flights departed 29 minutes and 58 minutes late, respectively, though on this occasion it's doubtful anyone complained about the minor delay.
The same aircraft (N667US) flew another round trip to Orlando the next day, substituting for a smaller aircraft on scheduled trips. Earlier in the morning, N666US had been used to upgauge another DTW-MCO-DTW trip, after having upgauged a DTW-ATL-DTW trip the previous evening.
After the hurricane, another 747 (PH-BFT) helped provide relief and post-hurricane evacuation for St. Maarten which was directly in Hurricane Irma's path. Last Friday, KLM flew a 747-400 from Amsterdam to Curaçao. Saturday morning, loaded with relief supplies and personnel, the aircraft flew the 96-minute flight to St. Maarten, then flew evacuees to Aruba. Yesterday morning, the aircraft ferried to Curaçao and then flew another relief flight to St. Maarten and evacuation flight to Aruba.
KLM's flights were the first time a 747 has visited St. Maarten since the "final" KLM 747 flew over Maho Beach on 28 October 2016. This weekend's 747 flights were surely as eagerly awaited.
Today's Featured Map illustrates these Delta and KLM flights along with the path of Hurricane Irma. (KLM's ferry flights are in grey.)
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Karl L. Swartz.
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