Author Archives: Caitlin Miller

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.

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!

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!

Singing Christmas Tree

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.

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.

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.

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 Captain Carl Wager had witnessed 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.”

Meet a Famous Duo and Enjoy the Outdoors in Bemidji, MN!

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

It’s nearly impossible to travel through the northern, woodsy town of Bemidji, Minnesota without noticing the giant statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox!  The famed statues were built in 1937 to celebrate the logging industry and still sit near the shore of Lake Bemidji, welcoming everyone who comes to visit. And thanks to everyone who has stopped to take a picture with the dynamic duo, the statues have become known as the second-most photographed icon in the nation.

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After visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe, a number of other outdoor attractions and recreation await. Five miles north of Bemidji lies Movil Maze, a 913-acre recreational area with over 14 kilometers of intermediate and expert trails that are open year-round. Trails are groomed and maintained to create the finest experience for those enjoying downhill skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, running, sightseeing or mountain biking. Be on the lookout for whitetail deer, bald eagles and black bears.

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Minnesota’s oldest state park, Itasca State Park, encompasses more than 32,000 acres with over 100 lakes, and the east entrance is only about 30 miles from Bemidji. The park was established in 1891 as a way to preserve the area that surrounds the start of the Mississippi River as it begins its 2,552-mile journey toward the Gulf of Mexico. Being able to see the source of the mighty Mississippi River is part of what makes the park such a famous North American landmark. Visitors will enjoy the short hike to the river headwaters, where there are a number of informative displays, and a great lunch at the Headwaters Café. There are also opportunities for fishing and camping under the star-filled skies. Plus, Itasca is an excellent place for premier bird watching, with over 222 species recorded!

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Fly right into Bemidji (BJI) on a SkyWest Airlines flight, operating as Delta Connection. from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP). To find the best fares, head to delta.com.

SkyWest Flight Attendant Brings Help to Cambodian Orphans

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

Having dealt with years of well-documented corruption and social unrest, Cambodia stands as one of the poorest countries in the world. Access to education, sanitation and nutrition is minimal in many locations, and non-existent for some. Many children begin working at a young age in horrendous conditions, exposing them to many risks, including disease, drug abuse and sexual violence.

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That’s where Mendy Field, a SkyWest flight attendant based in Palm Springs, California comes in. For the past seven years, Mendy has organized trips to Cambodia to help children in need. She first learned about the need while working alongside a Cambodian war refugee in Irvine, California for six years. There Mendy heard stories of the extreme poverty many are facing and knew she wanted to do something to help. After a trip to an orphanage in Mexico to deliver supplies, Mendy realized she could make the same deliveries to orphans in Cambodia.

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“It’s an adventure and a mission to help children learn and change that country,” said Mendy.

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Mendy made her first journey to Cambodia by herself and discovered an orphanage by asking locals at a hotel lobby about where she could find children she could help. Since then her efforts have continued to expand. Recently, she started her own non-profit organization called We See Light. Their mission is to help put an end to sex trafficking through education, building safe houses for children being rescued from brothels, and providing basic necessities like food, clothes and hygiene supplies.

“My goal is to build more safe houses for children who have been rescued from brothels,” said Mendy. “It’s not going to get better unless people go help them.”

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This summer, Mendy will be heading back to Cambodia to visit the orphanages and to deliver supplies that she has collected from other SkyWest employees. In fact, so much has been donated that several additional employees will likely join Mendy to help with the deliveries. Their efforts are a great example of what many SkyWest aviation professionals are doing around the world to help those in need.