Author Archives: Freddy Lemmo

Now Boarding to the North Pole – SkyWest Fantasy Flight in COS

“I don’t think there’s another place in the world tonight with more magic than right here, right now.”

Few things bring as much awe and wonder to children as flying in an airplane. Throw in a flight to the “North Pole” and you have a night of magic and fantasy.

For the 12th straight year, the SkyWest team helped bring the true spirit of the holiday season to children in Colorado Springs with the annual Fantasy Flight to the North Pole. The event provides the magic of Christmas to underprivileged children and their families.

Together with the Junior League of Colorado Springs (JLCS) and CPCD…giving children a head start, SkyWest welcomed more than 30 children and their families to the Colorado Springs Airport to enjoy a day full of joy and laughter.

Those in attendance were able to participate in a number of activities, including ornament making, face painting, corn hole, dinner, playing with the Go Team Therapy Crisis Airport Dogs, visiting with local Olympians and of course, flying on a CRJ700 to the North Pole.

“This was a crazy-awesome experience,” said one parent. “I was so excited for my daughter.”

While in the air, SkyWest flight attendants Linda Kracht, Nayomie Burns and Charlene Theobald joined in games and carols with the kids, singing their way across the night sky.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, the children were greeted by Santa and Mrs. Claus and together made their way up the jet bridge to the fully decorated terminal of the Colorado Springs Airport, courtesy of the SkyWest team in COS.

There, the children told the jolly old elf himself what they wanted for Christmas and were surprised with gifts picked out specifically for them!

“It makes me feel very fortunate and happy that I’m here at SkyWest and that SkyWest is participating in something that gives back to the community so much,” said COS CRJ Captain Curt Young.

Many thanks to SkyWest General Manager Jamie Young and her team as well as all of those at SkyWest who helped make the event possible through countless hours of coordination and expertise.

Read more about SkyWest people making a difference here.

 

SkyWest Bases Host Family Fly-ins

On top of providing crews with some of the best flying opportunities in all the industry, SkyWest Airlines is proud of the culture of teamwork that extends across the 13,000 aviation professionals at the airline. And that team spirit was on display as SkyWest people at hubs across the country organized fly-in picnics for employees and their families.

Crewmembers in Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and Detroit hosted events where those in attendance were able to fly the open skies as pilots brought in their personal aircraft and gave sightseeing rides. Additionally, everyone shared excellent food and great company.

During the events, SkyWest leadership joined in the fun with COO Mike Thompson, Flight Ops VP Tracy Gallo, InFlight VP Sonya Wolford and more leaders attending the fly-ins.

“I love SkyWest,” said PDX flight attendant Elaine Hergert. “Who has a company picnic and gives airplane rides to kids? So awesome! I love my job.”

These fly-in events are just one of the many examples of how SkyWest people create a culture of teamwork and success for employees and their families.

To learn more about becoming a part of our team, click here.

SkyWest Crews Volunteer for Wings for Autism Event in Boise

The airport is fast-paced, loud and can be overwhelming for almost anyone. For those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, it can be unfamiliar and even scary. It is easy to understand why families who have children with such disabilities shy away from the airport.

That’s why SkyWest Airlines teamed up with Boise Airport, The Arc of Boise, TSA and Delta Air Lines, to offer Wings for Autism for some very special passengers.

According to The Arc, “Wings for Autism is designed to alleviate some of the stress that is experienced when traveling by air, the program provides families and individuals the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane.”

SkyWest has participated in several events helping families with children who have special needs understand and get familiar with airport and aircraft procedures. Time and time again SkyWest crews have gone above and beyond to volunteer their time and resources to help these families.

This past weekend in Boise, Idaho (BOI), that same story rang true as volunteer after volunteer poured into BOI to help The Arc of Boise with their Wings for Autism event.

Whether it was Savanna Son, BOI InFlight Supervisor, talking to each family individually and making them feel welcomed and comfortable as they awaited their flight or ERJ Captain Patrick Persson hosting each child in the cockpit and taking several minutes with each of them to show them the insides and outs of the plane, our SkyWest crew made this a special day for all involved.

The children boarded a SkyWest E175, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the jetbridge. After a full safety demonstration from the flight attendants, they “taxied” around the airport while enjoying snacks and beverages. They were welcomed back to the gate with high fives and plenty of smiles.

Read more about SkyWest’s partnership with Wings for Autism events.

Many thanks to the SkyWest people who volunteered countless hours of coordination and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Learn more.

SkyWest Scholarship Program Awards Over 100 Outstanding Students

Congratulations to this year’s SkyWest Airlines Scholarship recipients! SkyWest is home to the best and brightest in the industry and that fact was emphasized by the caliber of employees and dependents vying for this year’s scholarships.

Scholarship Recipient Andrew York

We received more than 150 applications from students across the SkyWest system, all with pursuits of higher education. In the end, a total of 105 scholarships were awarded for $115,000, the highest in the history of the program. The scholarship funds are raised through generous donations from SkyWest employees as well as through donations by partners and vendors during events surrounding SkyWest’s annual Mini Indy charity event.

The recipients had a diverse range of academic ambitions to enhance their lives and those around them. The two winners of SkyWest Presidential Scholarship are current SkyWest team members who are pursuing their aviation goals. Denver First Officer Andrew York is pursuing a master’s degree in Aviation from the University of Central Missouri, while Salt Lake City Customer Service Agent Connyr Bennett is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Science from Utah Valley University with the hopes of reaching his goal to become a professional commercial pilot.

Scholarship Recipient Connyr Bennett

Recipients are selected by a SkyWest Scholarship Committee, made up of representatives from each of the SkyWest employee groups, who volunteer countless hours to evaluate applications. Each application was scored on a variety of criteria, including GPA, ACT/SAT scores, career interests, future goals extracurricular activities and unique challenges. With so many bright and goal-driven applicants, the committee was charged with the difficult task of identifying the cream of the crop!

From graduate students to college freshmen, each of the recipients exemplifies what sets SkyWest apart: dedication and hard work to achieve big dreams. Congratulations to each of this year’s SkyWest Scholarship recipients! We look forward to watching you soar in your academic and professional pursuits!

The SkyWest Scholarship Program is just another example of how SkyWest continues to set itself apart as the Partner, Employer and Investor of Choice! To find out more about joining our team, click here.

My SkyWest Journey: Father and Son Take To The Skies

Doug and Alec Wheeler’s shared love of flight led them to follow their dreams to become pilots. Their SkyWest journeys were each different, but this father and son duo pushed their way to become CRJ first officers for SkyWest Airlines and fulfill their goal to become pilots.

When the market crashed in 2008, Doug Wheeler’s RV repair business in Salem, Oregon took a devastating hit.

He had a decision to make; and after seeing his eldest son, Alec Wheeler, enroll in flight school, he decided to continue what he started 30 years prior and pursue his pilot’s license.

“I was first introduced to flight by a family friend at age 13 in his C172,” said Doug. “When we first took off, I was amazed by all of the trees and buildings…I was hooked on flight. Three years later, at age 16 I started flight lessons.”

Doug accrued a total of 23 flight hours before ultimately ending his pursuit of becoming a pilot. He opened his RV repair business in 1994 but flying still remained on his mind.

“Flying was always in the back of my mind. I couldn’t shake it,” explained Doug. “When I had time, I would take the family to air shows in the local area. Alec was my only kid that seemed to be as interested in them as me.”

Doug arranged for Alec to take a flight in a C172, just as he did as a young boy, and Alec too was hooked.

It was this shared love of flight that ultimately led to the pair enrolling in flight school together many years later.

Doug and Alec completed their flight training and together were hired by SkyWest Airlines.

“We chose SkyWest because it’s the best regional airline,” said Alec.

Today, Doug is a CRJ first officer based out of Seattle and Alec is a CRJ first officer based out of Minneapolis. Their hope is to one day fly a trip together.

“Flying side-by-side with my dad would be the culmination of more than a decade of hard work between the two of us and it would be a very cool way to commemorate how well we work together,” added Alec.

“I’m not sure our paths are going to cross, but if they do, it would be so awesome,” said Doug. “We started this adventure together in 2010, and it would be quite the exclamation point to that adventure. We would be sharing our passion flying high and fast.”

Find out what makes SkyWest Airlines the “best regional airline”! Visit www.skywest.com/careers.

Now Boarding Special Passengers: OAJ to “FUN”

Few things bring as much wonderment and awe to children as the miracle of flight. For kids with autism though, experiencing this miracle is often difficult due to their sensitivities to noise, large groups and the unknown. That’s where a SkyWest crew recently stepped in to help a group of these children have the opportunity to experience flight in safe, non-stressful environment in Jacksonville, North Carolina (OAJ). The event was one that all those involved with will not soon forget.

Together with Delta Global Services (DGS), OAJ Airport and the Exceptional Family Member Program, SkyWest crewmembers welcomed children with autism from military families on board a CRJ200, allowing these children an opportunity to participate in a flight rehearsal. While never actually leaving the ground, the crew pulled out all the stops to ensure it was a day the kids would remember forever.

Prior to boarding, the children were given wings and boarding passes with airport code “FUN” being their final destination. With a sense of eagerness mixed with nervousness, the children boarded the aircraft with family members. They were met on board by the captain of the flight, Atlanta CRJ Captain Princy Lala – a former Marine who jumped at the chance to be part of the event. After making the standard opening announcements, Captain Lala told the children they would be flying into “FUN” at an altitude of sea-level.

After his remarks came the safety briefing from Flight Attendant Stephanie Clausel, and then full-service drinks and snacks were provided, including a pizza provided by the crew. During this time, Captain Lala and First Officer Sam Anderson were busy playing the children’s favorite songs from the intercom.

One by one, each child was called into the flight deck to be an honorary pilot, sit in the right-seat, take pictures and, of course, page their parents on the intercom.

“It was an amazing, amazing, amazing thing,” said Captain Lala, who heard child after child say they now wanted to be a pilot just like him.

“It was my honor and pleasure to be a part of this event,” he continued. “Thank you, SkyWest, for providing me the opportunity to be in a position to bring smiles to the kids and Marine Corps families and to our company, in line with our guiding principles.”

Thank you to the crew who volunteered their time and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Learn more about joining the SkyWest team.

Flight Attendant Impresses Passenger with Helpfulness and Courtesy

SkyWest people are constantly looking for ways to provide outstanding service, even outside of their normal daily work responsibilities. Recently, customer Maurice Griffin was connecting to a SkyWest flight in Atlanta and experienced this hallmark service for himself after Maddie Dougherty, an Atlanta-based flight attendant supervisor, went out of her way to help him get to his flight. Mr. Griffin wrote the following heartwarming letter thanking Maddie for her extra care and compassion.


Dear Sir or Madam,  

On May 16, 2018, I was in Atlanta making a change to SkyWest Airlines to fly to Charleston, Virginia, having left Miami on Delta earlier that day.

I am 75 years old and was hospitalized in Miami for 10 days. I encountered a young lady who helped me with such courtesy and helpfulness that I feel compelled to bring her to your attention. Her name is Maddie Dougherty. You have a special person in your employment! So helpful — I was very impressed. She even asked the flight attendant to keep an eye on me.

I hope you have the opportunity to tell Ms. Dougherty and the friendly onboard attendant that I sincerely appreciated their concern and I hold SkyWest Airlines in high esteem!

Sincerely, Maurice Griffin    


Thank you, Maddie, for your care and kindness in helping Mr. Griffin and the countless other customers you help on a daily basis.

Maddie is just one of the many awesome examples of SkyWest people making a positive difference. Read more stories of our incredible people here.

Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Find out more information at www.skywest.com/careers.

Our People in Action – CMX Bowl for Kids

Freddy Lemmo
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Earlier this year, the SkyWest team in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan (CMX) laced up their bowling shoes to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and help deliver crucial mentoring programs that serve the local community.

At the U.P. Kids’ Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bowl for Kids event, SkyWest team members Nicole Johnson, Mary Lou Mercier, Torri Ryan, David Holmbo, Vic Petaja, Pat Willmert, Jeff Stark, Adria Laplander, Brittany Brandt, Lisa Rajala, Sarah Anderson, Megan Chaaban, Anna Arens, Zach Korkko, Amy Sundblad and Heather Garner teamed up to raise nearly $1,000. The BBBS at U.P Kids team says the funds were enough to supply about 30 percent of the total funds they need to deliver their mentoring programs.

“Because of your partnership, your passion for our mission, and your willingness to help… We’re able to change the lives of hundreds of kids in the local communities each year,” said the BBBS team. “Thank you! Your support is critically important to the life-changing work we do in building brighter futures for children in our local communities!”

Bowl for Kids is the main fundraising event for U.P. Kids and connects with SkyWest’s Guiding Principles, said CMX General Manager Nicole Johnson. “U.P. Kids Big Brothers Big Sisters builds a healthy strong foundation for kids in the community to help them realize their full potential. U.P. Kids nurtures children, supports families and strengthens communities.”

Great job CMX, and thank you for representing SkyWest with your Excellent Service and Quality at work and in the community! SkyWest believes in supporting the causes our people are passionate about through the Spirit of SkyWest: Our People in Action program, which is set up to allow SkyWest contributions for any SkyWest team member participating in an eligible charitable 501(c)(3) cause. It’s just one of the many ways SkyWest gives back to the communities we serve through our amazing people.

Interested in joining our team? Learn more and apply online!

SkyWest Offers Flight Rehearsal with Wings for Autism

Freddy Lemmo
Corporate Communications Coordinator

For many, the task of going to the airport, boarding a plane and reaching their final destination is pretty simple. Most travelers have learned that lines and big crowds in the airport are a typical part of the travel process. But for others, especially those on the autism spectrum, and their families, the task of going to the airport can be new and stressful. That’s why SkyWest Airlines once again teamed up with Fresno Yosemite International Airport, The Arc of Fresno, TSA, Delta Global Service and Hewlett Packard, to offer Wings for Autism in Fresno for some very special passengers.

Wings for Autism offers airport “rehearsals” specifically designed to alleviate the stress that children with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities, and their families, experience when flying.

“Going through security for the first time was a little intimidating,” said SFO First Officer Antonio Puentes, who volunteered at the event. The event was even more meaningful for First Officer Puentes because his son, Mateo, is autistic. “Coming through and you’ve got these machines, and you’ve got people standing around. You’ve got the big conveyor belts. That can be very stressful. And so getting through that with an extra help was a tremendous benefit for them.”

As part of the event, 50 children and their families got a first-hand look at what to expect at the airport and on an aircraft. After checking in at the ticket counter, they were greeted by members of the TSA, who explained what to expect in the screening process. They then gathered at the gate, where SkyWest crewmembers greeted them and talked to each child individually.

The children then boarded a SkyWest CRJ200, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the aircraft. After a full safety demonstration from the flight attendants, they taxied around the airport while enjoying snacks and beverages. They were welcomed back to the gate with high fives and plenty of smiles.

“It’s such a great experience, being able to fly and go new places, and they get to experience that by going through this process first,” said Melissa Perry of the Fresno Yosemite Airport. “They are getting a social story to help them through exactly what they did today, and then they can take that with them when they get ready to go on their [next] trip.”

Thank you to the SkyWest people who volunteered countless hours of coordination and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Learn more about joining the SkyWest team.