‘End of the tunnel’: Delta pilot finds eerie note penned as COVID-19 pandemic forced plane’s storage

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — “Check the tray table.”

First Officer Nick Perez did exactly that and found the note fellow First Officer Chris Dennis left 435 days earlier, when he parked the Airbus A321 at a desert lot in Victorville, California.

“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!” Dennis, the last pilot to fly the aircraft before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the airline industry, wrote in 2020.

According to Delta Air Lines, Perez found Dennis’ musings on June 1.

Today was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. A trip opened up to bring a Delta A321 to Victorville, CA for...

Posted by Chris Dennis on Monday, March 23, 2020

“[Dennis] had to have been thinking he was leaving his job. Back in March, I was 100% certain I was going to lose my job,” Perez said in a news release issued by Delta.

“I kept thinking about my mindset now compared to his when [Dennis] left this note,” said Perez, who has worked for Delta for nearly five years. “[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.”

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