But DL431 didn't relent.
The flight ended up leaving just a few minutes after when it was meant to, and remarkable landed seven minutes earlier than scheduled.
Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation writer and researcher, monitored the flight on Flightradar24, a flight-tracking app, and tweeted updates as the Boeing 737 jetliner, Delta Air Lines Flight 431, and Hurricane Irma both got closer to Puerto Rico. He captured this dramatic screenshot of the plane taking off between the arms of the storm.
The flight quickly unloaded passengers and took on a new planeful of passengers to take to NY.
You can see Rabinowitz's full coverage of the flight here.
The flight returned to NY with 173 passengers at 4:22 p.m.
JFK is experiencing inbound flight delays of 1 hour and 24 minutes on average due to runways in use. But after the costly affects of Harvey, he's already working with Congress on additional funding for the island.
This Delta plane flew safely in and out of Hurricane Irma
Florida now braces for the storm. Maximum sustained winds are near 155 miles per hour, making it a category 4 storm.
US President Donald Trump said he and his aides were monitoring Irma's progress.
Fears are growing for people - including two Brit sisters - caught up in the devastating category 5 storm that has destroyed homes and buildings and left at least nine people dead. Jose is following in Irma's wake.
The historic storm destroyed almost all buildings on the island of Barbuda on Wednesday, killing a two-year-old child as a family tried to escape, before wreaking havoc on the French territories of St Martin and St Barts, leaving at least seven dead. We knew it was hurricane season.
After the storm had passed, Harp said he stepped outside and saw the damage.
Hurricane Irma is feared to strike the southern USA state of Florida on Sunday with areas already being evacuated.