Fort Lauderdale's airport

A JetBlue flight to Fort Lauderdale landed in the Bahamas after the Florida airport closed due to extreme flooding

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  • A JetBlue flight from Newark, New Jersey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida was diverted to the Bahamas on April 12.
  • After three hours in Nassau, the plane went back to Newark, some nine hours after it first left the airport.
  • Fort Lauderdale airport had shut down because of heavy rain and flooding. 

Passengers on a flight to Florida ended up in the Bahamas instead. 

JetBlue flight 205 connecting Newark with Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was diverted to Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport on April 12 due to the Florida airport’s closure.

It left Newark at 1:38 p.m., over three and a half hours later than scheduled, made its way south toward Florida, and landed in the Bahamas at 4:58 p.m., according to the flight tracking data platform FlightAware. 

Three hours later, at about 8:20 p.m., the flight took off from Nassau and headed back to its origin, landing at Newark just before 11 p.m.

A JetBlue spokesperson told Insider the airline sought other Florida airports to land at, but due to the extreme situation and numerous diversions caused by the flooding and airport closure, it was safest to land in Nassau.

“With the airport in Fort Lauderdale closed and surrounding airports unable to accommodate this flight, the aircraft, and customers were returned to Newark after some time on the ground in Nassau,” the spokesperson said. “Safety is JetBlue’s first priority and the weather, airport closure, and subsequent diversion traffic was unprecedented.” 

The unplanned visit to the Caribbean was caused by intense rains in Florida that flooded the airport, which had to shut down. Flights at the airport resumed on Friday but with only one runway available.

Passengers on the flight were offered a $500 JetBlue credit as well as full refunds if they didn’t want to reschedule their trip, according to the representative. 

Flight diversions are relatively common, and flights can be diverted for a number of reasons, including unruly passengerssnakes on planes, and issues at the airport of destination.   

But diversions that see a US domestic flight land in another country are less common, as passengers could be required to have visas and passports they don’t have with them to get off the plane. The Bahamas requires US citizens to have a valid passport to enter the country.

JetBlue flight 205 was canceled on Thursday but operated normally on Friday.

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