A Delta Air Lines pilot traveling from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport left a note tucked in the tray table in the flight deck for the next pilot when he parked at a California airport.
That note wasn't found for 435 days.
Captain Chris Dennis, who lives in Minnesota, left the pre-pandemic message on Delta ship 3009 on March 23, 2020, when he parked it at Victorville airport in the California desert, Delta said.
Dennis had heard talks of a two-week lockdown when he was taking off from MSP Airport that day, so he wrote the note for the next pilot that would do the return flight once flights resumed again.
His note said:
"Hey pilots — It's March 23rd and we just arrived from MSP. 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. Amazing how fast it changed. Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!"
He also posted photos of all the Delta planes lined up for storage on his Facebook page.
Soon after Dennis left the note, the world shut down. Delta parked more than 600 aircraft, and the pandemic-related shutdowns Dennis thought we'd be in extended to more than a year.
The note wasn't found until June 1, when First Officer Nick Perez discovered it while "waking up" the plane for its return trip to MSP, Delta said.
"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," Delta said. "Ship 3009 is now prepared to take the skies once again.
"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," the airline added.