Category Archives: Making a Difference

SkyWest Pilots Make Special Landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital

SkyWest pilots made a special landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital in Boise, Idaho last week to help spread some holiday cheer. The pilots turned their pilot hats in for some Santa caps as they visited with patients throughout the day.

SkyWest Captain P.M. Schneidau as well as First Officers Luc Levasseur and Zeb Baney, along with several pilots from other airlines, arrived at the pediatric unit with their sack of toys. Some of the gifts included stuffed animals, LEGO sets and gift cards.

“We saw lots of smiles and eyes light up today,” said Captain Schneidau. “Many of the kids were so thankful and it was great to visit with them. We hope a new stuffed animal or toy will make these kids’ stay in the hospital a little easier and leave them with a positive memory.”

The event hits close to home for the Schneidau family who have experienced what families at St. Luke’s Children Hospital are going through right now.

“My wife and I have had two very preemie babies at this same hospital, with our youngest boy spending several nights in the Pediatric ICU,” said Captain Schneidau, who is currently a volunteer on the NICU Family Advisory Council. “So when this event came up, Vanessa and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in such a thoughtful and wonderful event.”

For many families, the holidays are a time of stress and added anxiety as they support and care for sick loved ones. Pilots for Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting hospitalized children and their families by using volunteer pilots to fly in toys and other needed supplies, with the goal of bringing smiles to families and children in need. This Pilots For Kids event was the first-ever in Boise. The event was so rewarding, that each of the pilots are already planning next year’s event.

“We look forward to participating again next year,” said Captain Schneidau. “We hope to make it even bigger too.”

Throughout the year, SkyWest employees have made it a point to give back to their communities through a variety of service projects. And with the holiday season in full swing, our crews and teams are once again finding ways to help make a difference. Read more about SkyWest people making a difference here.

Aviation Students Tour BOI Hangar

SkyWest teams across the country are doing their part to encourage the next generation of aviators! From fulfilling a job-shadowing request, to providing sight-seeing tours – SkyWest people are continually inspiring those with an interest in aviation.

Recently, SkyWest Airlines hosted a group of aviation students from Treasure Valley Community College at the Boise, Idaho (BOI) maintenance hangar! Not only were they greeted by eight SkyWest pilots, but they also had the unique opportunity to tour one of SkyWest’s new E175 aircraft – straight from the manufacturer in Brazil!

Jeff Norris, an aviation adjunct instructor from Treasure Valley Community College said, “I am still on a high after Saturday’s field trip to the SkyWest Hangar in Boise… It was a better than I could have imagined.”

Treasure Valley Community College and SkyWest Airlines have recently partnered to offer students a direct career path to commercial aviation through the Pilot Pathway Program. Students who are in the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program receive advantages like enhanced Company seniority, mentorship by a SkyWest pilot and a guaranteed final interview.

To learn more about your career as a SkyWest pilot, click here!

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SkyWest People Give Back

SkyWest people are continually finding ways to give back to their communities. The Spirit of SkyWest: Our People in Action program supports dozens of charitable 501(c)(3) causes employees are passionate about. Through this program, SkyWest and its people have donated to over 40 organizations nationwide — and that’s just one of the many positive ways SkyWest people are contributing in the areas where they live and work.

This year SkyWest people improved their communities in so many ways including: donating time at local food banks; bringing the miracle of flight with Wings for Autism events in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville, North Carolina and Fresno, California; volunteering with Civil Air Patrol and giving back to young aviatorsraising money for The Special Olympics by pulling an aircraft weighing nearly 180,000 pounds; Supporting the fight against Breast Cancer; Participating in local Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs; and Supporting Habitat for Humanity builds in multiple locations.

The year of giving doesn’t stop there. Through our largest charity event, the Mini Indy, SkyWest people raised over $70,000 for United Way and provided SkyWest Scholarship funds to over 100 outstanding students. They also banded together in relief efforts to help SkyWest’s own who have been impacted by fires and other unforeseen tragedies. And in the upcoming month, SkyWest will be hosting their annual flight to the North Pole for children in need and holding their annual fundraiser for the Utah Food Bank! While together our teams provide an impeccable travel experience in the air, SkyWest people are contributing far beyond their jobs every day in their communities.

Read more stories about SkyWest People Making a Difference. Learn about joining the SkyWest team.

SkyWest’s Lewiston Team Gives Back

The SkyWest customer service team in Lewiston, Idaho (LWS) is giving back to the community this season by donating their time at the Idaho Food Bank.

The team of 11 leveraged their teamwork to categorize and assemble food, sorting over 2,300 pounds of food during their first visit. While they’re generally working together to provide exceptional service, load bags and marshal aircraft, this group of agents put their teamwork skills together in a different way: helping to feed over 1,695 people across Idaho.

“This was our first time volunteering together as a team,” said LWS Customer Service Supervisor Angie Stegner. “We enjoyed it so much that we will definitely be looking for other opportunities in our community to serve.”

The team has already scheduled their return to the food bank in November, December and January and are looking to find more opportunities to serve in the coming months.

“This time of year is hard enough as it is, and the idea that we were helping to feed people and provide a basic human need was incredibly gratifying,” said Angie. “I think we all get so wrapped up in our own blessings that we forget that a box of canned food can mean everything to someone. It was a humbling experience.”

“We have a great chemistry here in LWS,” continued Angie, “but sharing that with our community made us feel more like a family.” 

Great job team LWS! If you are interested in joining a team like the one in LWS, click here.

SkyWest Pilots Give Back To Aviation Community

Whether its search and rescue missions to finding missing hikers, or coming to the rescue when natural disasters strike (Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.), the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), with its 60,000 members, continues to support communities across the country by donating their time and aviation expertise to provide essential services for those in need.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest pilots Kyle Curtiss and Matt Creed are among the many volunteers that donate their time to help with the different programs that CAP has to offer. From providing emergency services both on the ground and in the air, to its award-winning aerospace education and cadet programs, CAP – an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force – is providing paths for youth to become aviation leaders.

“I just love watching their eyes light up,” said SkyWest pilot and Flight Operations Supervisor, Kyle Curtiss.

“It’s an experience unlike any other” added SkyWest Assistant Chief Pilot, Matt Creed.

When they are not in the air flying one of SkyWest’s 2200+ daily departures across North America, you can find Kyle and Matt helping out their local CAP units which they help oversee.

“I got started in 2013 and I just love it,” said Curtiss who is now the Central Michigan Group Commander in the CAP program. “I love my job, I love flying and I just wanted to give back and get involved in the aviation community.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

For Matt, who has been involved with CAP for more than two decades and is now the Great Lakes Region Commander, it was love at first flight.

“I got involved with CAP when I was 10 years old. I later became a cadet and I’ll never forget my first lesson. I had great CAP instructors and to be able to pass that on to the younger generation is something that I really enjoy and love to do. They are our future leaders and their excitement is contagious.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

Together, the SkyWest pilots give tours of the facilities and different aircraft. The tours have quickly caught on with units doing so across the state.

“It’s great to show the kids how the operation is run and all the different aspects that go into flying,” said Curtiss. “Their eyes light up when we’ve taken them to the airport to see air traffic control tower. How many people can say they have been able to do that?!”

“We love giving tours and giving the kids that opportunity to experience sitting in the front seat of an airplane and seeing the control tower,” added Creed. “Most kids don’t get to see the operation up close like that, but CAP has allowed us to give them those experiences. It’s awesome!”

Many thanks to Matt and Kyle, as well as all the SkyWest people who volunteer countless hours across the country to make a difference in the lives of others! You are excellent representatives of SkyWest and we thank you for all that you do and for sharing your love of flying.

For those interested in joining SkyWest, you can learn more here.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest ORD Team Puts Their Strength to the Test for a Good Cause

On Saturday, Sept. 22, SkyWest Airlines participated in the 10th Annual Special Olympics Plane Pull hosted by United Airlines and UPS in Chicago. The Plane Pull event is the ultimate tug-of-war competition as teams of 20 battle to pull a UPS Airbus A300 or United Airlines 737, weighing more than 180,000 lbs over 12 feet as fast as they can.

The event took place on the cargo ramp at Chicago O’Hare where SkyWest Airlines fielded two teams which included over 40 employees! 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 to contribute fundraising dollars for any SkyWest team member participating in an eligible charitable cause. All proceeds collected from the Plane Pull benefit over 22,000 adult athletes and over 20,000 young athletes (ages 2-7) whom compete in the Illinois Special Olympics.This year the event raised nearly $190,000 to provide life-changing opportunities for thousands of Special Olympics athletes.

Beyond this event raising funds for a good cause and participating in some friendly competition, the SkyWest teams and their friends and family enjoyed entertainment, music and food at the event. It’s just another example of SkyWest people giving back and having a great time while doing so! Learn more about SkyWest’s people making a difference. 

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.

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.