Hurricane Irma has left a trail of destruction and chaos in its wake as it moves through the Caribbean towards the US. But one remarkable story from an airline is capturing the world's attention on social media.

As the catastrophic potential of Hurricane Irma became clear, most flights in the area were either cancelled, delayed, or diverted.

Even the Pope had to change his flight path, which was meant to take him to Colombia by travelling over Puerto Rico, but instead his Alitalia plane was forced to take a longer route around the southeastern Caribbean islands of Barbados and Granada.

One Delta Airlines flight, however, refused to change course.

Flight DL302/DL431 was flying on Wednesday 6 September from JFK Airport in New York to San Juan, the capital of the US territory Puerto Rico.

Some flights had attempted to land in San Juan an hour or so earlier, including two Jet Blue flights and an American Airlines plane, but all three turned around when they weren't able to land.

The Delta flight continued towards San Juan.

To make matters even more intense, the crew were planning to make a change in the city and bring a new group of passengers back to JFK Airport. This required a rapid turnaround so the flight from San Juan was brought forwards by 25 minutes to prevent any slow passengers wasting time.

By the time the plane had landed and all the passengers had disembarked, Hurricane Irma had already engulfed much of the island, including San Juan airport.

Delta was simultaneously disembarking one flight and boarding the next.

Remarkably, things went smoothly, and the whole process of landing, taxiing, disembarking, emptying luggage, loading new luggage, boarding new passengers and taking off again took just 52 minutes.

The flight then had a very small window of opportunity to make it out of San Juan.

A thin band of the hurricane had circled away from the main body of the storm, leaving a constantly moving but clear corridor for the flight to use.

Minutes later, it had made it through the storm, much to the delight of those onboard, but also stormchasers and plane enthusiasts around the world who had been tracking the events online.

Some compared the rapid changeover to that of a Formula 1 pitstop, and others simply breathed a sigh of relief to see the flight emerge unscathed from one of the worst Atlantic storms in history.

Delta Airlines flight in Hurricane Irma
The Delta flight as it was taking off from San Juan FlightRadar
Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, is seen in this NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Centre image from GOES-16 satellite taken on 5 September 2017 NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Centre/Reuters