Delta pilot’s note from the start of pandemic found 435 days later
A note from a pilot who left his plane at a flight deck at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic was found 435 days later, highlighting the fear and confusion that was felt in March 2020.
“Hey pilots — It’s March 23rd and we just arrived from MSP,” Delta Air Lines First Officer Chris Dennis wrote when parking the plane in California, a Delta press release said. “Very chilling to see so much of our fleet here in the desert.”
“If you are here to pick it up then the light must be at the end of the tunnel,” Dennis continued. “Amazing how fast it changed. Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!”
Dennis wrote the note when officials were under the impression the country would be shut down for only two weeks.
The note was found at the beginning of June, when the plane was getting ready to be used again, as air travel has increased to levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
First Officer Nick Perez found the note more than a year later, before his first flight on the plane, Delta said.
“I kept thinking about my mindset now compared to his when he left this note,” Perez said. “[Back then], we were getting good at landing empty airplanes, now we’re going in the right direction. I’m in good spirits. I’m very optimistic. I feel like how I felt in 2017 again – ready to get going.”
Dennis told Delta how hard it was to see so many planes parked when looking back on the moment.
“I thought about how many people’s jobs rely on just one of those airplanes,” Dennis said. “From the Reservations agent, to the ticket agent, to the pilot, flight attendants, mechanics, the ramp crew. Then you go a level deeper: the rental car agency, the hotels, the tourism companies.”
Dennis posted on Facebook in 2020 after he wrote the note, saying the feeling was “chilling, apocalyptic, surreal.”
“As they get into that airplane, they are going to see the opposite view than I saw,” Dennis said. “There’s going to be an open runway in front of them.”
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.