Author Archives: Caitlin Miller

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Now Boarding for the North Pole!

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

mke_north-poleSkyWest’s industry-leading team works together every day of the year to carry more than 30 million passengers to 202 destinations throughout North America. Recently, the SkyWest team had the opportunity to take some very special passengers to a magical destination not found on a SkyWest route map: the North Pole!

SkyWest Fantasy Flight in Colorado Springs and the Flight to the North Pole in Milwaukee brought joy and the 12-10_cos-fantasy-flight-045miracle of the holiday season to children living below poverty level, children with special needs and children suffering from serious illness. The generous efforts of SkyWest people helped create
treasured memories for these children that will last a lifetime.

The Flight to the North Pole helped brighten the season for 14 children suffering from serious illness and their families as they boarded two SkyWest CRJ200s and took a 20-minute ride to the “North Pole” (a nearby hangar decked out in holiday style!). While the ride was a short one, it provided much needed smiles and wonderment to all onboard.
12-10_cos-fantasy-flight-035The 10th annual Fantasy Flight in Colorado Springs took 49 eager children to meet Santa Claus at the “North Pole” as well! These tiny passengers, many of whom would otherwise  receive little to nothing on Christmas morning, filled the CRJ700 with holiday cheer as flight attendants led the children in Christmas carols on their 30-minute journey.

12-10_cos-fantasy-flight-089As the families deplaned, they were greeted by mascots, carolers and Santa Claus himself! The “North Poles” in both Milwaukee and Colorado Springs were a child’s Christmas dreamland, complete with crafts, games, a Christmas meal and gifts from their wish lists. The goal: to provide happiness and cheer, even if for just one day. The smiles on the faces of everyone involved proved they did just that.

mke_flightA special thanks to all of our team members, from Maintenance and Customer Service to Flight Ops and InFlight, for their efforts to spread holiday cheer to our special passengers. These events are just another way SkyWest people give back to the community and share the miracle of flight with even the smallest of flyers!

 

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SkyWest Maintenance Teams Give Back in Salt Lake City

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

SkyWest’s maintenance team is among the best in the industry; and their experience working nose to tail on our four fleet types provides an unmatched level of expertise. Recently, mechanics at our SLC (Salt Lake City) maintenance base volunteered their time and expertise to the Leonardo Museum, sharing their love for the miracle of flight with the museum’s 180,000 annual visitors. After helping to reconstruct a C-131 aircraft inside the museum for the opening of the FLIGHT exhibit earlier this year, the SkyWest Maintenance team volunteered their time to restore the plane’s luster and shine.Leo Ryan and Kim

“Working on aircraft is part of the love of being a mechanic; giving back to the community is an added bonus,” said Donovan Johnson – Coordinator Maintenance Facilities, SLC. “The Leonardo is an important part of Salt Lake, and we’re happy to do our part to make our community a little better.

Cleaning a 1950’s military era twin-engine aircraft like the C-131 is no simple task. After the museum closed each night, SkyWest people worked to buff, polish and clean the aircraft, bringing its ‘50’s era luster back for the tens of thousands of museum visitors. The volunteers worked through the night for four days straight, using various cleaning and polish equipment as they covered themselves in dust and grime to transform the aircraft from dull to sparkling. By the time they were done, the C-131 had enough shine to see your own reflection!

SkyWest mechanics are a team of nearly 1,000 professionals who work at 12 bases across the United States. They work on the regional industry’s largest – and growing – fleet of 360 aircraft from nose to tail. These highly qualified individuals provide for the safe transportation of more than 30 million SkyWest passengers each year. Their work on the Leonardo is just one example of the hard work and pride that SkyWest professionals take in every aircraft they touch. Thank you to those who volunteered their time and talents to help give back to the community.

Leo Team

Interested in joining our team of professional mechanics? We have openings at bases and are offering moving expense reimbursement! Click here to find out more about becoming a SkyWest mechanic and to apply.

The Leonardo Museum was created to embody the spirit of the Renaissance Man and help the community discover their inner genius. For more information about the FLIGHT exhibit at The Leonardo, click here.

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Honoring Our Veterans

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

2015_veterans_daySkyWest is home to more than 1,000 men and women who are serving or have served our country, many of whom are in the reserves and can be called on at any moment to active service. As part of our team of more than 11,000, these brave individuals put their background and experience to work to provide safe, exceptional service to more than 30 million SkyWest passengers each year.

As we pause to honor our veterans on this day, SkyWest Corporate Communications manager Layne Watson shares a story about his grandfather, Lynn Watson, who served in the Army during WWII.

My grandfather served in the 104th Infantry Division during World War II. He and his division were near Antwerp, Belgium when the Battle of the Bulge began. General Eisenhower called my grandfather’s general and told him, “You have Germans on three sides of you. If you want to pull back, you have my permission.”

Every time my grandfather would tell me this story he would tear up as he recalled his general’sgrandpa-watson response: “We paid for this ground in blood and we are keeping it!”

Sure enough, the town that the 104th had taken was soon under German attack. Eventually, my grandfather and one other soldier were separated from the rest of their troop and the town was surrounded by German forces. The two of them took cover in an old barn. My grandfather would later discover that he and his comrade were presumed dead.

For the next 48 hours, my grandfather eluded German forces (and friendly bombing) before making it to a safe zone. When he returned to his outfit, they were preparing to send his belongings to my grandmother with the news that he had been killed in action. My grandmother would always recall how grateful she was to have never received that notice.

I am incredibly grateful for my grandfather and the countless other brave souls like him who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

Please join us in honoring and saluting all of our U.S. military members for their brave and selfless service to help protect the freedoms we enjoy.

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Celebrating SkyWest People: Appreciation Week 2016

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

Through food, games, fun and more food, the SkyWest team of over 11,500 employees celebrated each other and their phenomenal successes from the past year as they’ve worked together to operate more than 1,800 flights every day.

The past week was spent celebrating the people that make SkyWest great. Through continued hard work, SkyWest has met many of their 2016 goals. An illustration of SkyWest teamwork is the significant improvements to the overall operational performance, bringing a record amount of Performance Reward payouts for the first half of this year. And not only do the SkyWest people work hard, but they take care of each other.

Standout service moments happened across the system and employees recognized their teammates who go above and beyond! To see some of the fun, check out some of the 2016 Appreciation Week photos below.

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SkyWest Mini Indy 2016 Wins Big for Charity

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

The engines revved and the checkered flag flew at the Ridgetop Raceway in St. George, Utah as 34 teams from around the globe recently vied for racing fame at the 2016 SkyWest Mini Indy! The airline industry’s premier charity event, Mini Indy includes Indy-style cars racing up to 25 MPH, a finger-lickin’ BBQ pit master’s competition and golf against the scenic backdrop of Southern Utah’s unmatched beauty – all to benefit those in need!

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

Since its inception 16 years ago, the SkyWest Mini Indy has raised more than $1 million for United Way Dixie. Those donations have helped countless people in need in Southern Utah, with 100 percent of the proceeds staying in the community to help those who are struggling to meet their basic physical and emotional needs.

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

In conjunction with the event, nearly $50,000 was raised in 2016 to benefit the SkyWest Scholarship Program through the Mini Indy Golf Tournament and a drawing to win a CAN-AM Outlander Max 400 4-wheeler, generously donated by Bombardier. In the last 15 years, the SkyWest Scholarship Program has helped hundreds of SkyWest employees and their family members achieve their higher education and professional goals.

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

Mini Indy is just one of the many ways SkyWest gives back to the community. To get more information on the excitement and the partners involved in Mini Indy, visit www.miniindy.org.

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SkyWest’s Top Service Moments of 2015

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look at some of the exceptional service that SkyWest employees have provided during the past 12 months. The following are seven of SkyWest’s top service moments of 2015.

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  • Flight Crew Brings Family Together One Last Time

When the Vandenberg siblings received a call that their mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse, they immediately booked their flights to reach her. When a delay made it seem like they would never make their connecting flight in Denver, the SkyWest crew on board went above and beyond to help get the Vandenbergs onto their next flight moments before it left the gate. Thanks to the efforts of crewmembers on both flights, the Vandenbergs were able to spend precious final moments with their mother.

“The little things in life matter, as they add up to big things. And, in doing the little things very well, your flight crews allowed us the precious moments with our mother that we would have missed otherwise,” wrote Thom Vandenberg. “For that, we want to express our heartfelt thanks and recognize a job very well done.”

  • First Officer Gives Wings to Young Cancer Fighter

A JoeMyersbrave six-year-old girl was fighting cancer and having a tough day when she met Joe Myers, a SkyWest first officer, on the shuttle ride to the airport. Joe immediately began trying to make her day better and by joking with her. He even removed the wings from his shirt and pinned them on her, telling her he was making her an honorary pilot. The little girl’s parents said that she wouldn’t part with the wings and even slept in her shirt that night with the wings safely secured on it.

“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 she could fly with me anytime. Maybe with some prayers she will be able to fly for SkyWest someday!”

Read more about Joe’s experience.

  • Pocatello, Idaho Team Helps Passengers on a Diverted Flight

When a mainline United flight unexpectedly diverted to Pocatello, Idaho, the SkyWest team on the ground immediately stepped up to the plate. Although they normally handle Delta flights, Linnea Chidester, the Pocatello station general manager, and her team demonstrated stellar service as they helped dozens of United passengers arrange lodging and buses to their final destination in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“It was a tough situation, but the airport staff did an outstanding job,” said one passenger. “They were all very friendly and helpful and kept cool in a difficult situation. I had never been to or even heard of Pocatello, but the airport staff made a great first impression!”

  • Lost Toys Find Their Way Home

It was one of the most amazing acts of sheer kindness she had experienced in a long time. That’s how Jaimi Nielson described her interaction with Erin O’Shea, a SkyWest flight attendant, after Jaimi’s son, Owen, left his bag of toys at the gate before boarding his flight. Owen was distraught over losing his prized collection of LEGOs, his “best friend” (a well-loved stuffed lizard) and his storybooks that were inside his bag. Simply because she wanted to help, Erin jumped on a flight to San Francisco – instead of heading home like she had originally planned – where she picked up Owen’s lost bag of toys.

“We asked her why she would be willing to do this, “Jaimi said. “And she simply said, ‘Because he captured my heart.'”

Read more about Erin’s extra effort.

  • ACV Welcomes Special Passengers

VIPSkyWest’s team in Arcata, California (ACV) meets a variety of passengers on a daily basis. And this past spring they had the chance to welcome a very special group of passengers to the airport as they helped 12 children with Autism and Downs Syndrome experience the operation and the miracle of flight.

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

Check out more details and photos from this special event.

  • SkyWest Flight Attendant Angelic Fluker Becomes an “Angel in the Sky”

While boarding a SkyWest flight, a passenger received tragic news that her husband of 19 years had passed away. Chicago-based flight attendant Angelic Fluker’s compassion sparked a day of caring for this grieving widow. Angelic not only checked on the passenger throughout the flight, she accompanied her on an additional flight home on her day off so that the woman wouldn’t have to travel alone.

“I told her over and over that I would not know what I would have done without Angelic in my life that day. She was my angel,” said the passenger.

  • Don Mortimer, GCC Cross Utilized Agent Helps Soften Last Goodbye

On Aug. 22, a couple was traveling through Gillette, Wyoming when they received a phone call no parent ever wants to receive. Their son had been in a tragic car accident and was being taken to the hospital back in their home town. Don Mortimer, a SkyWest cross utilized agent in Gillette, was there to help in a way they will never forget. He stayed with them for two hours after the airport closed to help the family find a way home and to get checked in. The next morning, Don met them at the airport and flew with them on the first leg of their trip to make sure they made their connection. Thanks to Don’s help, the parents were able to be with their son for his final day.

“Thank you, Don, for giving us those last few hours with him. We will forever be grateful,” said the father. “We just wanted SkyWest to know that they have a very special person working for them and he went above and beyond.”

Learn more about the help Don provided.

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SkyWest is made up of an amazing group of more than 11,000 people who deliver incredible service every day. And this list is only a small glimpse of the countless times SkyWest employees have gone out of their way to help more than 30 million passengers in 2015!

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Holiday Fun in Muskegon with the Singing Christmas Tree!

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

Travelers seeking unique holiday fun should look no farther than Muskegon, Michigan, home to America’s tallest, singing Christmas tree! Every year, thousands of hours are spent planning and preparing for the event by local students, teachers and parents from Mona Shores High School. The end result: a living, breathing Christmas tree that stands five-stories tall and holds more than 200 singing students!

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The Singing Christmas Tree is a sight to see!

Hour-long practices begin just after Labor Day as students prepare songs like, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” As the event draws nearer, the 67-foot steel tree is set up on the stage of the Muskegon Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts. Hundreds of volunteers place the 850 pieces of steel to build the tree frame, orchestrate and dress up the students, and decorate the tree with over 5,000 feet of garland and 25,000 twinkling lights!

The student at the top of the tree, known as “The Tree Angel,” is a high school senior nominated by the choir director. Most students can’t wait to move up the tree, as they start at the bottom as freshman and move closer to the top each year.Singing Christmas Tree 3

Now in its 31st year, the singing Christmas tree continues to grow in popularity. It was featured on TLC’s “Extreme Christmas Trees” in 2011 and in 2013 on the Travel Channel’s “Jingle Brawls.”

Over 5,000 people kick off their holiday season every year with a visit to the tree. This year will also feature a new look thanks to an updated structure and more LED lighting. The 2015 performances will be at 7 p.m. on December 3, 4 and 5 with an additional matinee performance at 3 p.m. on December 5. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

Travel to Muskegon with SkyWest Airlines flights, operating as United Express, from Chicago O’Hare. Find the best fares at united.com.

Don Mortimer – GCC Cross Utilized Agent.

Kindness Leads to One Last Goodbye

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

In late August, a couple was traveling through Gillette, Wyoming when they received a phone call no parent ever wants to receive: their son had been in a car accident in West Virginia and was being taken by Life Flight to a nearby hospital. They felt helpless being so far away from home and unable to rush to the hospital to be with their son.

That’s when Don Mortimer, a SkyWest cross utilized agent in Gillette, noticed their distress. Don stayed at the airport two hours after closing to help them find a way home. He didn’t want to leave until new flights were booked and he had them checked in.

Don Mortimer – GCC Cross Utilized Agent.

Don Mortimer – SkyWest cross utilized agent

But Don didn’t stop there. The next morning, he met the couple at the airport and continued to help them through their terrible situation. He ended up flying with them to Salt Lake City to ensure they made their connecting flight home.

With Don’s well wishes, the family made it home and was at their son’s side when he passed away two days later.54eca2268aad9.image

In a letter describing their experience, the family expressed their gratitude for the compassion and kindness Don showed by giving them precious moments with their son; something that they will never forget.

“Thank you, Don, for giving us those last few hours with him. We will forever be grateful. We just wanted SkyWest to know that they have a very special person working for them and he went above and beyond. Let him know how much we appreciate him.”

Don’s actions are a great example of the effort that many SkyWest employees make every day to provide exceptional care to their passengers and to help those around them.

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Experience “Minnesota’s Playground” in Brainerd, MN

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

When planning a trip to the lake-surrounded, Minnesota town of Brainerd, prepare for unique lodging, plenty of outdoor fun and a calendar of exciting events happening all year long!Brainerd

Here’s a quick look at some of the standouts for the year:

  • January: Ice Fishing Extravaganza – the largest charitable ice fishing contest in the world where over 10,000 people gather on Gull Lake for a chance at a great catch and hundreds of prizes!Ice Fishing
  • February: Frozen Fore Winter Festival – the world’s largest snowmobile and pond hockey event on Gull Lake. Play nine “holes” of golf on the frozen lake, fill up at the food fest and jam to live music!
  • June: Lakes Jam Music Fest – three days of music at the Brainerd International Raceway. With country, classic rock and the blues, Lake Jam has music for everyone!
  • July: Paul Bunyan Extreme 5K – a race like no other made for the whole family! The course is filled with challenging obstacles, including a rope swing, mud pits, a dumpster dive in ice water, and a climb up Paul Bunyan’s 16-foot tall boot, just to name a few!
  • August: Lucas Oil Nationals – the racing event of the year at the Brainerd International Raceway! Watch the world’s best drag racers compete on the fastest drag strip in the country!race car
  • October: Oktoberfest at the Arb – German wines, beer, food and music! Later in the month, don’t miss the Gerital Frolics – the popular musical variety show in vaudeville fashion where every performer is over age 55!
  • December: Winter Wonderland – a drive-through spectacle of beautiful lights strung into captivating displays.

From May to September, a visit to the Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd is also a must. Here visitors have an opportunity to see wildlife from five continents! Feed a giraffe and ride a camel at the park before heading to Paul Bunyan Land which immerses visitors in the life of the famous folktale lumberjack. Paul

And with so many fun activities to keep travelers busy, a good place to check in and hang out is the Arrowwood Lodge. The rooms are so big, they call them cabins! Also, the lodge houses its own indoor Paul Bunyan Water Park with over 30,000 square feet of activities and adventure.

Plan a Brainerd getaway today with convenient flights on SkyWest Airlines, operating as Delta Connection, from Minneapolis. Find the best fares and more travel info at delta.com.