A note written by a Delta pilot at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic expressing his fears and hope for the future has been discovered more than a year later by a colleague.
More than 400 days ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced thousands of canceled flights and a world of uncertainty, First Officer Chris Dennis parked Delta ship 3009 to start the ‘wake up’ process at the Victorville airport in the California desert, the airline posted to it’s official Facebook account on Thursday.
Prior to his arrival from Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport, he had heard talks of a two-week lockdown as the pandemic continued to spread across the globe. Feeling the weight of the moment, the pilot penned a note for the next airman that would be doing the return to service flight before leaving it on the parked plane.
That next pilot, fellow First Officer Nick Perez, was going through his normal pre-flight checklist to start up the plane on Thursday when he discovered a letter ‘tucked away’ on a tray table in the flight deck, the post said.
‘Hey pilots, it’s March 23 and we just arrived from MSP,’ the 435-day old letter began.
‘Very chilling to see so much of our fleet here in the desert,’ the pilot noted, just as the world began to shut down.
A note from the start of the COVID-19 scare was discovered onboard a Delta plane over a year later, reflecting the fears and hope that gripped the world in March 2020
Pictured: First Officer Nick Perez would discover his fellow pilot’s note 435-days later after removing the plane from its storage in the California desert on Thursday
The industry would see mass shutdowns in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 onset, leaving travelers without many options as airlines were forced to cancel flights.
With planes no longer in flight, Delta had to store their aircrafts in the California desert, where Chris had flown ship 3009 to at the start of the pandemic.
‘Amazing how fast it changed,’ the first officer’s note continued. ‘Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!’
The heartwarming letter caused many Facebook commenters to reflect on an extremely difficult year for travelers and non-travelers alike.
‘Goosebumps for sure,’ Brett Pohlman commented on Delta’s post. ‘Seeing so many Delta planes in storage at BHM was a constant reminder of the world we live in. After flying with Delta last week and weekend, I’m so glad to see that many of those planes have been brought back into service. Airports are busy again. Such a great sight!’
‘Petition to have Ship 3009 be designated something like “Spirit of America” or “Hope” and have it receive a custom paint scheme,’ Travis Renton commented.
‘Yes! We love this idea. Thanks so much for sharing it!’ the Delta Facebook page replied.
Pictured: First Officer Chris Dennis wrote the note at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, just as traveling and the world braced for lockdown
Delta had to store airplanes in the California desert after the pandemic shut down travel, forcing airlines to cancel flights across the board indefinitely
‘This really does sum up how we all felt and the uncertainty of March 2020. I got chills reading this note. Safe flying, First Officer Nick P,’ another commenter added.
‘Exactly! We got those same chills,’ the airline responded.
As traveling continues to move toward normal pre-pandemic levels, the airline noted it won’t be taking operations for granted after the past 435 days.
‘While the world certainly has changed over the past year, one thing is for certain: we won’t be taking that open runway for granted anytime soon,’ Delta wrote.
Dennis expressed his feelings the day he wrote the note in a same-day Facebook post, which had 11k likes and over 1.1k shares as of Saturday.
‘Today is a day I will remember for the rest of my life,’ his post began.
‘A trip opened up to bring a Delta A321 to Victorville, CA for storage. I had no idea what I would see or what emotions I would feel.’
‘Chilling, apocalyptic, surreal… all words that don’t fit what is happening in the world.’
‘Each one of these aircrafts represents hundreds of jobs, if not more,’ he noted.