A Delta pilot's pre-pandemic message is found tucked away on a plane coming out of storage
Published Monday, June 14, 2021 7:06PM EDT
A note tucked away on a Delta plane in storage for more than a year is providing a look at the days right before the world shut down because of COVID-19.
On March 23, 2020, Capt. Chris Dennis parked Delta ship 3009 at the Victorville airport in the California desert. Delta and other airlines were cutting flights as global lockdowns and travel restrictions were going into effect, but Dennis didn't know it would be the start of a 435-day hiatus for the aircraft, according to Delta.
Dennis was hearing talk of a two-week lockdown, Delta said in a Facebook post last week, so he decided to leave a message.
"Hey pilots -- It's March 23rd and we just arrived from MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul). 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 wrote. "Amazing how fast it changed. Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!"
The airline ended up cutting back 70% of its capacity, parking at least half of its fleet -- more than 600 aircraft -- and accelerated retiring older planes.
The pilot assigned to "wake up" the aircraft and get it out of storage found the note on a tray table in the flight deck, Delta said in the post.
"Those 57 words, which captured so much of the uncertainty and emotion we all felt in March 2020, underscored the gravity of the trip, and how optimistic he now feels about the direction we're heading in," the post said. "Ship 3009 is now prepared to take the skies once again."