Tag Archives: Christmas

SkyWest Flies Children to “North Pole”

Hanna Hansen
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Pure joy and merriment filled the Colorado Springs, Colorado (COS) and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE) airports this weekend as SkyWest crews flew more than 100 children to a special destination not found on any route map: the North Pole.

SkyWest Fantasy Flight – COS
At the 11th annual Fantasy Flight, SkyWest crews gave Rudolph the night off, welcoming 30 eager children onboard a CRJ200 for a 30-minuite flight to the “North Pole.” Partnering the Junior League of Colorado Springs and CPCD…giving children a head start, the night spread holiday cheer to children who live at or below poverty level.

IMG_3149“Fantasy Flight brings a magical atmosphere of wonder and cheer to the children in Colorado Springs,” said Lori Hunt, SkyWest’s vice president of People. “Every year, SkyWest people are delighted to play a part in creating this unforgettable event.”

These young passengers, many of whom would otherwise receive little to nothing on Christmas morning, were greeted by mascots, carolers as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves as they enjoyed crafts, games, a festive meal and gifts from their wish lists in a Christmas wonderland created by volunteers. The goal of the event: to provide memories of happiness and cheer for each of the children involved.

“This is a special experience that not everyone gets to have, we feel so privileged,” said Rebecca Brown whose son Ryman participated in the event. “As soon as we found out he was invited, he started flying around pretending to be an airplane. The whole thing has been a great time and experience.”

The Flight to the North Pole – MKEMKE FF
The Flight to the North Pole helped brighten the season for 72 children from Milwaukee Children’s Hospital suffering from serious illness and their families as they boarded a SkyWest CRJ700 and took a 20-minute ride to the “North Pole” (a nearby hangar decked out in holiday style!). While it never left the ground, the festive ride provided much needed smiles and wonderment to the tiny passengers.

The event meant a little something more to the captain operating the special flight, Captain Tim Schuh, who’s newborn son spent several weeks at Milwaukee’s Children’s Hospital this past summer.

“We are so thankful for everything Children’s Hospital did for our family,” said Captain Schuh. “They did several life -saving operations and treatments and were always so good at keeping us informed and teaching us everything we had to know. I wanted to take part in this event because it is a small thing that I am able to do to help the kids and the families that are going through difficult times there. I know how they are feeling. Even though my son has obstacles to overcome in life, many of the families at Children’s are dealing with even more difficult news and prognosis.”IMG_3143

Both events, made possible through the hard work of SkyWest elves and countless volunteers from various other organizations, welcomed in the warmth of the holiday season providing a day full of Christmas magic to all in attendance! These events are another example of the many ways SkyWest people brighten the journey of passengers young and old.

Take a look at more photos from the events!

SkyWest Teams Spread Holiday Cheer

Katelyn Boulton
Corporate Communications Coordinator

While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, SkyWest employees make time to give back to the local communities in which they work and live.

In addition to the recent Fantasy Flight in Colorado Springs and Flight to the North Pole in Milwaukee, this year SkyWest people have also contributed to local food pantries and charities, benefiting ill or underprivileged children and families during the holiday season.

20161221_094350Members of the SkyWest team in Salt Lake City recently gathered donations this holiday season to benefit sick children in need of smiles. Pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents rallied together and collected paper, glue, duct tape and other needed supplies for kids’ craft time at the Primary Children’s Medical Center Child Residential and Day Treatment facility.

SLC team members also worked together to support the Candy Cane Corner, a seasonal store providing holiday gifts for low-income families and individuals participating in programs at the YWCA Utah, The Road Home and Volunteers of America. Donations included toys, art supplies, stuffed animals and educational games.

“There was overwhelming support from team members in donating for both of these organizations,” said SLC administrative assistant Tiffani Jensen. ”As the donations were picked up by the organizations, you could see they were truly touched.”holidaydonations2016-1327

Additionally, team members in St. George, Utah, participated in an annual Holiday Donation Drive. Donations were given to the Utah Food Bank, providing much-needed items to 24 local pantries and organizations. Thanks to the generosity of all who participated, 6,346 pounds of goods were donated, including 87 cases of water, more than 500 cans of food, over 200 pounds of pet food and more.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed! Whether it’s flying children to the “North Pole,” gathering supplies to benefit charities or collecting goods for local food pantries, SkyWest people go above and beyond to extend their holiday cheer to local communities.

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!

 

SkyWest Flight Attendants Deliver Holiday Magic

McKinnley Matson
Corporate Communications Coordinator

It was one of the most amazing acts of sheer kindness she had experienced in a long time – her family’s own Christmas magic. That’s how Jaimi Nielson described SkyWest flight attendant Erin O’Shea’s actions after Jaimi’s son, Owen, left his bag at a gate in San Francisco before boarding a recent flight.

A prized collection of LEGO sets, his “best friend” (a well-loved stuffed lizard) and favorite storybooks were among the possessions that five-year-old Owen accidentally left in SFO. After realizing what happened, he was heartbroken and cried the whole flight.

The Nielsen’s searched for a way to retrieve the bag, but what they found wasn’t good. The bag had to be picked up in person and the cost of a flight to reclaim the items would cost well over $1,000.

Enter Erin O’Shea, a SkyWest flight attendant.

Flight Attendant Erin O'Shea with the bag of toys.

Erin O’Shea with Owen’s bag of toys.

Erin met Owen while he was flying from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and offered to help. After she finished her trip with a flight to Chicago, Erin jumped on a different flight back to San Francisco, rather than flying directly home to Salt Lake City. In SFO, she was able to work with TSA to ensure all the security requirements were met and picked up the bag. Erin then flew back to Salt Lake and delivered it to Owen’s family.

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

Thanks to Erin’s quick thinking, Owen was overjoyed to find his most treasured possessions back at his side when he woke up the next morning.

But Owen wasn’t the only young boy who experienced some holiday magic this month. More than 1,000 miles away, in Minneapolis, five-year-old Ethan and his younger brother were on their way to live with their Nana in Duluth, Minnesota. There were sure to be a number of changes in store and the one thing Ethan really looked forward to was snow.

Having lived in Mississippi, Ethan had never seen snow before and he couldn’t wait to get to his Nana’s house to have a snowball fight! When his flight from Minneapolis to Duluth was delayed due to weather, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Ethan told Linzie Clayman and Jacie Vonada – Minneapolis-based SkyWest flight attendants all about his plans for the snow. But as the hours passed by, Ethan’s excitement turned to frustration.

“Their Nana looked pretty stressed out,” Linzie said. “When the snack cart rolled around, Jacie and I helped her get some snacks for the boys, but Ethan still seemed pretty sad.”

That’s when Linzie and Jacie concocted a plan – a secret mission to make Ethan’s day special.

They talked to the first officer for the delayed flight, and within a few minutes, he returned with a snowball, just for Ethan.

First Snowball

Ethan’s first snowball!

Ethan’s whole face lit up at the sight of his first snowball. But he wasn’t the only one. Other travelers around the gate area saw the exchange and couldn’t help but smile as Ethan carried his snowball around until it melted. That simple act of kindness helped keep Ethan’s spirits high until he was able to arrive at his new home.

The actions of Linzie, Jacie, Erin are repeated by countless other SkyWest employees on a daily basis as they work to provide incredible customer service for every passenger, especially during the busy holiday travel season.

Now Boarding SkyWest’s Fantasy Flight to the North Pole

Hazel Sainsbury
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest’s ninth annual Fantasy Flight took of this weekend in Colorado Springs, bringing the Christmas spirit to underprivileged children and their families.

“This event is cherished by everyone involved,” said Lori Hunt, SkyWest’s vice president – People. “Every year SkyWest employees help provide treasured holiday memories for children whose families struggle to meet their basic needs.”

IMG_4939This year, more than 40 children were able to participate in the Fantasy Flight where they took a 30-minute flight from Colorado Springs Airport (COS) to the “North Pole” (Gate 11 at COS). There, the little passengers were greeted by Santa Claus himself, who presented gifts to each child in attendance. The night also included dinner for the children and their families, as well as appearances from local Olympians and Sox the Fox, photos with Santa, a petting zoo and more!

What makes this SkyWest tradition even better is the incredible efforts of the employees and members of the community who volunteer to make the entire night special for everyone involved. In fact, the aircraft, fuel, gifts, dinner and more is all donated to the event. And seeing the excitement of the kids involved makes it all worth it.

Children aboard the Fantasy Flight are enrolled in the Community Partnership for Child Development early childhood education programs. These children live below the poverty level, have an identified special need, or have a home situation that puts them at risk for school failure. To learn more about the organizations SkyWest partners with to make this event possible, visit www.jlcoloradosprings.org and cpcdheadstart.org.

Hays for the Holidays

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Tucked away in Northwest Kansas, the town of Hays should not be overlooked. This old railroad town settled by German immigrants after the Civil War has much to offer any visitor, especially during the upcoming holiday season.Hays

Offering the magic and spirit of the holidays minus the big crowds and never-ending traffic, Hays is home to the annual FrostFest. The celebration kicks off on the first weekend of November and runs through December. Visitors can enjoy numerous holiday-oriented family activities, highlighted with the Annual FrostFest Illuminated Parade on the first Sunday of December. Carriage rides, visits with Santa, caroling and a festive tree lighting also take place throughout the season. On top of that, Hays’ rustic shops that will remind shoppers of simpler times and make it the perfect spot to kick off the holidays.Hays_FrostFest

Hays was originally established as a U.S. Army fort near the end of the Civil War to station soldiers during the cold winter months and the Christmas season gave soldiers an opportunity to reconnect with activities they would have been doing at home. Today, visitors can take part in Christmas Past at Historic Fort Hays to see what life would have been like for those soldiers, including how the Fort would have been decorated in the late 1800s. They’ll also enjoy strolling the fort grounds and seeing living-history programs, luminaries and caroling.

After the Army cleared out, German settlers began to make Hays their home and their influence is still felt today. More than 50 percent of the town’s population claims German heritage, giving this Old West town a unique feel at any time of the year. In particular, September and October are a great time to plan a visit to one of the Oktoberfest celebrations held in the community.Hays_Parade

Hays is also a fantastic destination for any art lover. In fact, the city boasts more artists per capita than New York City! Four times a year (one for each season), the Hays arts council coordinates a city-wide gallery walk that includes visual and performance arts around Hays. The Winter Gallery Walk adds to the already festive atmosphere felt throughout the town.

Kick off the holidays with a trip to this charming and unique destination with convenient United Express flights from Denver, operated by SkyWest Airlines. The best fares can be booked at united.com.