SkyWest Crews Going the Extra Mile

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

SkyWest is home to countless caring and considerate employees. Recently, three stories about some of our incredible crews were shared with us that illustrate the type of people who make up the SkyWest family.


On a recent trip in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City based SkyWest Flight Attendant Jill Roundy noticed a small detail about one of her young passengers.

“He had a Make-A-Wish button on his shirt. Passengers may think we don’t pay attention to them but we really do,” Jill said. “This is the reason I’m a flight attendant. Everyone has somewhere to go with a purpose: a wedding, funeral, job interview, promotion or a birth of a child. We do our best to get them there and with the best intentions to read their mannerisms. But this was a first for me.”

SkyWest crew with the family.

SkyWest Crew (Flight Attendants Jill Roundy and Lacey Finnell, First Officer Aiden Eye and Captain Charles Butler) with the family.

The young boy and his family were on their trip home from fulfilling his wish to go to a concert of his favorite artist. Jill and the rest of her crew took the time to make the family’s trip special, giving them an extra tour of the aircraft after it landed. The little boy was thrilled at the opportunity and after looking into the flight deck, he asked Jill if he could sit in the captain’s seat. Captain Charles Butler was happy to oblige and stepped out as First Officer Aiden Eye took the time showing this young passenger the controls on the flight deck while explaining their functions.

“This only shows that the employees at SkyWest are by far just one great big family caring for the people that fly with us!” said Jill. “Happy to be part of the family.”


A brave six-year-old girl was having a tough day. As her family arrived at the airport in the evening, they made their way to the shuttle for a ride to the parking lot. As the young girl boarded the bus with her parents, noticing there were no open seats, Palm Springs based First Officer, Joe Myers, stood up to give his seat to the mother and daughter.

The girl has lost all of her hair as a result of cancer treatments. During the shuttle ride, a little boy made a comment to the girl about her lack of hair, and she began to cry. As the family got off the bus, Joe walked over to the little girl and told her she was the prettiest little girl he had ever seen. He then took off his hat and showed her his own bald head, telling her she was very special. Joe made her night when he removed the wings from his shirt and pinned them on her, telling her he was making her an honorary pilot.

First Officer Joe Myers

First Officer Joe Myers

Joe made the girl laugh when he jokingly told her, “Boys are made of cotton and are rotten!” before thanking the parents and walking away. The parents were in tears and so moved by Joe’s compassion and love toward their daughter that they went the extra mile to contact SkyWest and share their gratitude for First Officer Myers.

“I was blessed that night,” said Joe. “That little girl touched my heart and gave me far more than I could have ever given her. When I pinned my wings on her, I told her that pilots don’t cry and she could fly with me anytime. Maybe with some prayers she will be able to fly for SkyWest someday! I didn’t do anything that another SkyWest employee wouldn’t have done when faced with the same situation. I feel so fortunate to SkyWest and my wife Jackie for allowing me to pursue my dream! This is a family that I am so proud to be a part of.”

That night the little girl wouldn’t part with the wings and slept in her shirt with the wings safely secured on it. Even now, she will not take them off.


While boarding a flight in Seattle, Tiffany Miller, a Salt Lake City-based flight attendant, noticed one impeccably dressed young woman.

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw her turn around, so I turned to meet her sweet face. Tears were welling up in her eyes, and she spoke to me in a voice I haven’t heard in a while,” Tiffany said. “It was the same tone my children would have when there were monsters under their bed. ‘I’m very scared. Is it going to be really bumpy?’ and after hearing herself she openly started to sob.”

The passenger explained that she flies a lot but just passed through a storm that had “terrifying turbulence.” Tiffany told her that she too had just been through a similar storm, but that she anticipated that everything was going to be fine on the short flight and that she was in very capable hands.

Tiffany then went up to the flight deck to find that the Captain Carl Wager had witness the exchanged and was wondering what he could do to help. He offered to go back and talk with the girl if she would find it reassuring. The young lady, still full of fear, accepted the offer. Carl went back to her seat, taking up precious moments needed to stay on schedule, to let the passenger know that he understood her fears and was aware of his tremendous responsibility to keep everyone safe.

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Captain Carl Wager speaking with passenger

“I am always confident with my pilots. I am grateful for the level of training, skill and knowledge they work hard to possess. Today I was truly grateful to also have a wonderful and kindhearted captain,” Tiffany said. “I looked down the aisle to see a very relaxed, very sweet moment. It was one that I hope I never forget. It was empathy in action: pure and simple.”

10 Things to Do in Midland, Texas

McKinnley Matson
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Midland, Texas offers a wealth of activities to fit any traveler’s taste – from foodies and sports enthusiasts to history buffs and the outdoorsy – all without sacrificing true Texas culture or Southern hospitality. Check out our list of top 10 must-see Midland attractions to start off a fantastic West Texas adventure!

Johnny's

1. No Texas vacation would be complete without experiencing some finger-licking Texas cuisine. Grab a taste of real Texas barbeque at Johnny’s BBQ Diner, a local favorite.

 

 

Gerado's

2. In the mood for Tex-Mex instead? Head over to Gerardo’s Casita for some authentic cuisine that you can only find in Texas.

 

 

 

Susie's

3. For dessert, don’t miss Susie’s South Forty Confections Candy Factory, a Guinness World Record-Holder for the largest piece of toffee.

 

 

 

4. PermianCatch up on Texas history at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and find out how Midland is connected to more than 16 percent of the nation’s oil reserves.

 

 

 

Alamo

5. Remember the Alamo! Make sure to pay a visit to the first bell that hung in the Alamo at the Haley Library and History Center.

 

 

 

6.Planet Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes access to the universe. Be sure to visit the Marion Blakemore Planetarium at the Museum of the Southwest.

 

 

 

Football7. Nothing completes the true Texan experience like attending a high school football game, where the entire community gathers for the intensely competitive games. See why West Texas high school football was the inspiration for Friday Night Lights.

 

 

8.Baseball For baseball fans, there’s also a Midland RockHounds game, Midland’s minor league baseball team.

 

 

 

Bend9. Midland offers the closest access to Big Bend National Park. This is especially good news for star gazers as this remote park is one of only 10 places on the planet that is certified for dark-sky stargazing and is well known for being one of the largest, most beautiful and least-crowded national parks in the U.S.

 

Sunset

10. In the end, Midland can always be counted on to provide visitors with possibilities that are as endless as the horizons.

 

 

 

 

What Does it Mean to be “Cross Utilized”?

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

SkyWest’s cross utilized agents have a lot of responsibilities. In one shift, they’ll help passengers check in, get them boarded onto flights, ensure their bags are loaded and much more. Amy Orsini, who is based in West Yellowstone, Mont., gives some insight into what it’s like to be a cross utilized agent.

Why did you decide to apply at SkyWest?

I was working at a restaurant and a coworker saw an ad in the paper for ramp, customer service agents and flight attendants and said let’s go to this recruiting event. I had never considered working for an airline but thought I would give it a shot. At the recruiting event, I applied for Customer Service in Salt Lake City. Best decision of my life!

Amy and some of her WYS team.

Amy and some of the West Yellowstone, MT (WYS) team.

What’s something people might not know about being a cross utilized agent?

We do EVERYTHING. We work the ticket counter, the gate, out on the ramp, clean the planes and de-ice! You could check in a passenger, then load their bag and board them on the plane. You gain a lot of knowledge about how the airline operates.

What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day as a cross utilized agent starts out when we check the bookings for our flights, inspect the ground equipment and set up for arrivals and departures. Then we start to check in passengers. Getting to see different state’s IDs or country’s passports is cool, and customer service is important while checking in our passengers and their luggage. Interacting with them to find out if they are on vacation or if this is a business trip and what their destination is makes the day interesting. When the flight arrives, we go out to the aircraft to unload passengers and bags, say hello to the flight crew, and then load up our outbound passengers and their bags. Once that flight is ready and on its way, we head back inside to check in passengers for the next flight.

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Agents loading baggage onto aircraft.

You’ve been at SkyWest for 14 years now, what has made you stay?

I have stayed because I love this company! The opportunities working here seem endless and there is always movement if I want to change my career path. I also love the relationships I’ve developed with people all over the company. Communication is easy and important for SkyWest. The fact that I can send a note to the vice president of Customer Service and get a response quickly, directly from him, along with people from any department means a lot! Although we are a growing company it still feels like a family. I also love the challenge of working for the airline, the fast-paced environment, flexible schedules and, of course, the amazing travel privileges.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

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Agent marshaling aircraft at St. George, Utah Airport.

The versatility and problem solving that each day requires. I get to use my computer skills while booking/rebooking passengers, my problem solving skills when there is a delay and to load plan (weight and balance of the aircraft). I love the knowledge I’ve gained for the whole operation. I also enjoy the fresh air while marshaling in an aircraft, unloading bags and driving around the tarmac. And I get to do all of this with an awesome team!

What qualities or skills help make someone a good cross utilized agent?

Being people oriented, flexible, able to solve problems, and someone who loves to travel!

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a cross utilized agent?

Be sure you like planes, passengers, a little bit of physical labor and are flexible! This is not a typical 9-5 kind of job. The airport never has a day off; planes and people are always traveling. If you like change, a fast-paced environment and are flexible this is the job for you!

Pocatello, Idaho – Something to Smile About

Jodi Drake
Corporate Communications Specialist

Pocatello, Idaho is known as the U.S. Smile Capital thanks to a 1948 ordinance that made it illegal not to smile in Pocatello. While the law was a tongue-in-cheek comment on an exceptionally severe winter, it remains on the books, and the following are just some of the activities that are available in Pocatello that will help keep every visitor smiling!

Snow

Snowmobile trails put Pocatello on the maps. And while it may not be on the typical list of vacation ideas, snowmobiling is a fun, easy way to explore new country. The looming mountains and ice-frosted pine trees are perfect scenery for new or seasoned riders. Here’s a list of trail descriptions near Pocatello, including several trails that are less than 20 minutes from the city.

dance

Just a few miles north of Pocatello, the Fort Hall Indian Reservation provides a rich cultural experience. Native American culture is beautifully depicted here each August in the Shoshone-Bannock Festival. This year, the 52nd Annual festival will be held Aug. 6-9 at the Fort Hall Pow Wow Grounds. Typically, the festival draws more than 2,500 dancers who arrive from all over North America. The dancing. The drums. The crafted bead-work. The comradery. It’s a unique experience that is incredible to be a part of and to celebrate.

climb

Pocatello also hosts what it calls America’s oldest and most fun rock climbing competition, the Pocatello Pump. The event is coordinated by Idaho State University and raises money for scholarships to the university and for a national, non-profit rock climbing organization, Access Fund. This year, the event will be held Sept. 19-20 at the basalt crags of Ross Park’s Sunny Side and Shady Side. Besides the competition, visitors can enjoy spectacular climbing throughout the year thanks to basalt and limestone conglomerate climbs that are only five minutes from downtown.

Along with all of the great things to do within Pocatello itself, there are several nearby destinations that visitors will want to explore while in the area. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are just a short drive from Pocatello, and world-recognized ski resorts such as Sun Valley, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are nearby, too.

There’s no time like the present to book a trip! Daily, Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest Airlines, are available between Pocatello Regional Airport (PIH) and Salt Lake City (SLC) year-round. The best fares can be found at delta.com.

How I Became a SkyWest Pilot: Julie Hafen

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Julie Hafen – a CRJ first officer for SkyWest Airlines, discovered aviation as a teenager and has been hooked ever since. Check out how she got started as a pilot and what a typical day is like for her at SkyWest.IMG_1158

As a teenager, I always thought I would enjoy flying and traveling for my career, but it never occurred to me that I could actually be the pilot until I was 17 years old. I took an intro to aviation class at my local college and fell in love with aviation. Problem was, however, that I had never even set foot on an airplane, let alone flown one. So for my 18th birthday, my parents flew me to Texas, where my grandfather, who had his private pilot’s license, took me flying.

When I got home from that trip I immediately registered for the aviation degree at Utah Valley University and started my training in the fall of 2003. A few years after I started my schooling and flight training, I earned my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). I instructed for five years because I got hooked – hooked on the feeling of being able to help others earn their wings…giving others their dreams. For me, it was by far the best way to build time toward becoming a commercial pilot.

I decided to apply at SkyWest Airlines after attending the Women in Aviation conference in 2012. I was happy fight instructing, but after speaking to the numerous pilots at the SkyWest booth, I decided I wanted to take the next step and become a SkyWest pilot. There were many airlines I spoke to at this conference, but the pilots at SkyWest were the most friendly and easy to talk to, and it was clear that they enjoyed their careers. After months of studying I felt ready for an interview and submitted my application. IMG_2212.JPG

SkyWest interviewed me shortly after, and I was officially hired only days after my interview. Once hired, I had two weeks to get all my documents ready and to prepare for ground school. Training was a whirlwind of more learning than I even knew possible, but it was worth it. It took me a few months after training to feel completely comfortable as a first officer, but I knew I made the best decision by changing my career from a flight instructor to an airline pilot.

Here is a tiny glimpse of a day in my life at SkyWest:

I show up for work at least 45 minutes prior to our first departure and spend a few minutes meeting the crew; I have had the opportunity to fly with some pretty great captains and flight attendants at SkyWest. Together we look at any deferred items on the aircraft (inoperative items that are not required to be fixed immediately), the weather and any other pertinent information for the flight.

Once we head out to the aircraft we each have our duties that need to be completed before we depart. Typically the first officer is the one to do the walkaround/preflight inspection while the captain completes some checklist items.

After the passengers and baggage are on the plane, we complete a weight and balance (it’s not just something for general aviation), and figure out our speeds for takeoff and cruise. On the plus side, we don’t always have to do it by hand.

Before we start the engines for the first flight each day – we might fly one to six legs in a day – the captain and I decide who will fly which legs. Some captains like to alternate each leg, some like to always fly first… it doesn’t really matter, but know that you will generally be flying as much as the captain is – they don’t get to have all the fun. And whoever is flying will do a briefing before each flight including the current weather, expected taxi route, departure procedure, pertinent NOTAMs, etc.

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Julie with her all-female flight crew on the recently retired EMB120

If we are done with our day early enough, we will usually get together as a crew to do something fun. There are such great people at SkyWest, it is great being able to hang out outside of work and to get to know each other a bit better.

My quality of life at SkyWest has been so much better than it was as a flight instructor. As an instructor I worked 10-14 hour days for five or six days a week. It was rewarding work, but it was a lot of work. At SkyWest, I usually work four days a week and get paid for more hours than I did when I was teaching. I am also able to be home much more and spend time with the people that matter most to me. Quality of life is very important to me, which is one of the reasons I chose SkyWest over the other regional airlines out there.

Flying isn’t really work for me; it’s more like a hobby that I get paid for! Of course there are frustrating days that get interrupted with weather or maintenance delays, but for me those days seem few and far between. I am happy with the career I chose. I have been at SkyWest for almost three years, flying the EMB 120 Brasilia and now the CRJ, and have never regretted my decision to work for such a great company.

Six Cities for Unique Fourth of July Fun!

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

The Fourth of July is here and those looking for something outside the Metropolis (or outside the normal) should think about heading to one of these six cities for the holiday. With fun traditions and a break from the bustle, here are some interesting options to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Alpena, MI

cardboard-boat-900pxAlpena is home to just over 10,000 people in northern Michigan, but that doesn’t stop them from having a great Fourth of July celebration! Some of the unique activities these Michiganders take part in each year include a sandcastle building contest, a rubber ducky race and a cardboard boat regatta. The town also boasts great waterfront fireworks.

Rock Springs, WY

http_www_visitpinedale_org_cache_made_images_events_369_mudd_volleyball_tournament_pinedale_wy__large_800_533_88auto_c1_hvtiwn_gqmyk2Rock Springs claims to have Wyoming’s largest firework display to end its festivities, but there are plenty of other events during the day that will make for an unforgettable celebration, including a 4-on-4 mud volleyball tournament. Plus “Wyoming’s Big Show” festival moves into town bringing a carnival and fair events that are the largest in Western Wyoming.

Redmond, OR

Redmond boasts a full-fledged traditional Fourth of July, from their “Baseball, Hot Dogs & Apple Pie” parade to the “Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration.” Events include pony rides, train rides, bouncy houses, archery, petting zoo, a water obstacle course and more! Redmond knows how to plan a holiday for old-timey fun for the whole family.

Elko, NV

581662_10151570661988246_1758120217_nFor something a little more off-beat this Fourth of July, check out Elko, Nevada’s annual Basque Festival. The event is held over the Fourth of July weekend and in correspondence with their Independence Day festivities. The town celebrates with Basque dancing, Basque sport exhibitions like weightlifting and wood chopping, and plenty of Basque food!

West Yellowstone, MT

p1110721In this town on the doorsteps of Yellowstone National Park, the Fourth of July is a Wild West Adventure. Throughout the weekend the town is hosting the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo, which provides entertainment throughout the day. They also have a Buffalo Chip Chuck, where participants have the chance to fling buffalo poop…competitively.

Eau Claire, WI 

Eau Claire brings folktale heroes and old fashion fun to their Fourth of July celebration. On the Fourth of July, visitors can attend “Paul Bunyan Camp” to step back in time. There are also “Old-Fashioned Family 4th” events throughout the town which includes train rides, football and baseball games, fireworks and more. Plus Eau Claire hosts the Chippewa Valley Air Show over the holiday!

SkyWest Team Welcomes Special Passengers

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Coordinator

SkyWest’s team in Arcata, California (ACV) recently welcomed a very special group of passengers onboard. Twelve children with autism or down syndrome had the chance to experience the miracle of flight, even though they never actually left the ground!

SkyWest ACV Team

The eager passengers arrived at the airport, checked in at the counter with their bags, went through security and then boarded a 50-seat CRJ200. Once on the plane, the VIPs (Very Important Passengers) listened to the flight attendant’s announcements before receiving a snack and drink. A few even got to sit in the flight deck and make announcements! The group then deplaned and headed to baggage claim to pick up their checked luggage.

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“I’m not sure who had more fun: us or the kids!” said Angeline Vandenplas, SkyWest’s ACV general manager. “We all had such a great time.”

SkyWest ACV VIPs

The effort of the Arcata team, along with Captain Katie Overdick, First Officer Marko Miliceric and Flight Attendant Elle Eguchi who spent an extra two hours at the airport to participate, is a great example of SkyWest’s commitment to give back to the community. And for these passengers, it makes for a fun experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime.

SkyWest Celebrates 43 Years!

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

On this day, 43 years ago, SkyWest Airlines took off on its first scheduled flight – from St. George to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a stop in Cedar City on the way! Since that first flight, what was a small, local airline has grown into one of the largest regional airlines in the country.

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Six-seat Piper Seneca used by SkyWest

Then and Now (10)

Check out even more about SkyWest’s history at www.skywest.com.

SkyWestBlueTailTakeoff

So how exactly is a 43rd anniversary celebrated? According to several lists of modern anniversary gifts, the 43rd year should be celebrated with travel! So join in the celebration, and fly a SkyWest Airlines flight today.

 

Q&A with a SkyWest Crew Scheduler

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Coordinating the schedules of more than 5,000 crewmembers on a daily basis and helping to keep 1,800 flights on schedule are just a few of the responsibilities of people like Tawnya Howard, a SkyWest Airlines crew scheduler.

Check out what else she had to say about this unique job.

CrewSupport

SkyWest Crew Support Team

What is your favorite part about being a crew scheduler?

I like that this job is not the same thing every day; there is always a new challenge or a new situation to deal with, so it fully engages your mind in trying to get everything pieced together.

What is something most people wouldn’t know about crew scheduling?

It is a normal office job but it doesn’t have normal office hours, which makes it ideal for travelling or just having some great family time.

Why is crew scheduling such an important part of the SkyWest operation?

While flight attendants and pilots are often the face of our operation, Crew Support is the glue behind the scenes. It is our job to make sure that the aircraft has a captain and first officer as well as flight attendants; if we don’t have those crewmembers the flight can’t depart.

We also field the calls for crewmembers who can’t come to work due to being sick or missing their commuting flight, and then it is our responsibility to find someone to take their place.

Why do you enjoy working at SkyWest on the Crew Support team?

The people that I work with are amazing! We really have a good time together.

We also have a really great schedule working four, 10-hour shifts, so we always have three days off together every week. We can also swap and trade days (within department and company policy guidelines). If you do it right you can get a nice 12-day vacation or break, which works out perfectly if you are using the flight benefits!

What would you say to someone who is interested in working in crew scheduling?

If you like to be challenged at work, do puzzles, piece together schedules and flying, then this is for you. It is also a great job if you have never worked in the airline industry before because you learn about a lot of different departments, answer all sorts of questions, work closely with Flight Operations, InFlight, Dispatch, Training, and Payroll to name a few, and you really just have a chance to dip your fingers in a little bit of everything. It makes the day go fast and it’s very fun to learn everything.

What qualities would be good for someone who is interested in being a crew scheduler?

You need to be able to multi-task and be creative in the way you problem solve. Often we are trying to cover a flight when we don’t really have any reserves available for it. Due to this, creativity is key. You also need to be willing to ask questions, as well as be willing to continue to learn no matter how long you have been here.