Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

SkyWest is proud to have a diverse team with many cultures and backgrounds represented throughout our workforce. This month we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and heard from many of our employees about what their heritage means to them and how it plays a role at SkyWest. Here’s what they had to say:

Paola Johnson — Flight Attendant, SLC

I was born in Santiago, Chile, and came to the United States when I was 10 years old. I’ll never forget that night and the bittersweet goodbyes. On that 10-hour flight, my love for aviation began thanks to an amazing flight attendant who took me under her wing. Though she was working first class, she constantly checked up on me and spoiled me with inflight goodies (pillow, blanket, snacks, and coloring books). It was that moment when I said to myself, “I want to be just like her.” The kindness she showed me really impacted me and inspired me to become a flight attendant just like her.

Years later, one of my friends told me about a SkyWest hiring event that was being held in Salt Lake City the following day. I thought the idea of possibly interviewing the very next day was crazy, but I took my chances, and five years later, here I am!

After my first year at SkyWest, I jumped at the opportunity to join the InFlight recruitment team. I love going to recruitment events and seeing not only the excitement that so many applicants have, but giving them the same opportunities that I was given. I’ll never forget when I asked an applicant a question and he responded by saying that it was inspiring and motivating for him to see a Latina flight attendant conducting his interview. It made him proud and happy to see diversity here at SkyWest.

In July, I celebrated my five-year work anniversary at SkyWest and my experiences have been nothing but amazing. I’m so grateful for the many friendships that I’ve built here and the places I’ve been able to see and explore. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities SkyWest has provided for me and my family!

Eventually, my family went back to Chile, but they left me with many valuable lessons that I still cherish to this day: the value of hard work, having courage and believing in yourself – even if you have to start over. As a mom, I hope that I’m teaching my daughters that same work ethic and showing them that anything is possible, no matter where they come from.

Nayomie Burns — Flight Attendant, DFW

I have always wanted to be a flight attendant. I grew up an Army brat (child), and lived in some pretty diverse places. Both of my parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico and married very young. My mom always instilled in us to get an education and to do better than they did. So, although my desire was to become a flight attendant after high school, I obeyed and went to college.

I truly enjoyed my time as a college student and made such great friends. But again, I was in rural Louisiana at the time and people did not know that Puerto Ricans could have such dark skin. I always had to explain myself to others, but that is one thing that I’ve never had to do at SkyWest.

When I joined the SkyWest family as a flight attendant, I said to myself, “I am done. I am in my forever career.” I’m so glad I came here and didn’t go elsewhere. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many great people and have met more Latinx pilots than I can count. I have been inspired by them and countless others to try my hand on the other side of the door.

I started taking flight lessons a couple of years ago and finally received my PPL this past June – right as I transferred to Dallas (DFW). During this time, I have met so many Latinx pilots and plan to join them one day as an Afro-Latina, which I am proud to be. I really appreciate the opportunities that SkyWest affords me and how they embrace and encourage individuality while still being part of a larger community.

Rene Azahar — CRJ Captain, FAT

SkyWest CRJ Captain Rene Azahar credits his father for sparking his passion for aviation and for helping him get to where he is today.

“Growing up, my dad would take me over to Los Angeles International Airport to watch the planes take off and land. It was a thrill! When we weren’t at the airport, you could find us flying model airplanes at the park.”

A few years later, the family moved to Santa Maria, California, right behind the airport. From his backyard, Captain Azahar could see the SkyWest planes take off and land. It was during this time that Captain Azahar made it his goal to be a commercial airline pilot for SkyWest one day.

With strong family support and his dad telling him to never give up on his dream, Captain Azahar fulfilled that promise in 2017 when he was hired at SkyWest.

Click here to read more about Captain Azahar’s inspiring path to becoming a commercial airline pilot.

JJ Jimenez Lopez — Flight Attendant, DFW

For SkyWest Flight Attendant JJ Jimenez Lopez, working in the aviation industry wasn’t something that had ever crossed his mind growing up. That all changed when a friend and fellow SkyWest Flight Attendant Vanna Hoang, encouraged him to look into it.

“Vanna introduced me to SkyWest and the aviation industry, and the next minute I’m covering one of her trips,” said JJ. “How cool is that! Every time I see Vanna I make sure to thank her because SkyWest has changed my life.”

For JJ, who recently celebrated his five-year work anniversary this summer, it all wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his parents who made a number of sacrifices so that he could have a better life.

“I’m proud of my heritage. It means everything to me,” said the Dallas-based flight attendant. “My parents taught me early on about the importance of hard work, dedication, and being proud of where I come from and who I am. My parents came from nothing and gave my siblings and me a better life. Their sacrifice and love is something that I’ll never forget.”

Click here to read more about JJ’s path to becoming a flight attendant.

SkyWest Supports Wings for Autism

SkyWest crewmembers Captain Casey M., First Officer Daniel T., and Flight Attendants Sydney W. and Hunter H. recently had the chance to welcome a few special passengers onboard a CRJ at The Wings For Autism event at Minot International Airport (MOT). This special event provided an opportunity for kids and their families to experience all the realities of flight without ever leaving the ground.

As part of the event, the young fliers went through check-in and security, then boarded the SkyWest plane for a “special” flight. Once onboard the children got to see the flight deck, listen to the safety announcements, and hear the engines spool up. Flight attendants Sydney and Hunter provided an exceptional cabin experience, including top-notch beverage and snack service to the young passengers. 

SkyWest is proud to partner with The Autism Research Center (The ARC) and the TSA to provide opportunities for families with special needs children to experience what it’s like to take a real commercial flight. These Wings for Autism events are a great way to alleviate some of the stress that is experienced when traveling by air because families and individuals have a chance to practice the process in advance. SkyWest has sponsored several Wings for Autism events over the years and we look forward to more opportunities in the future. 

Thank you to our crews for going above and beyond with this event, and to all those who made it possible.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Captain Azahar Makes Promise, Fulfills Dream

As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize one of our pilots whose heritage has played a role in his career as a pilot. CRJ Captain Rene Azahar also credits his father for sparking his passion for aviation and for helping him get to where he is today. Despite the obstacles and hardships that came, Rene has overcome the challenges, achieved his goal, and is now living his dream. Read on as he describes his path to becoming a commercial pilot at SkyWest.


I was born in El Salvador, a small country located in Central America. Back in the 1980s, a dangerous civil war was taking place, so for safety reasons, my parents immigrated my sister and me to America when I was just four years old. It was on that Boeing 737 flight to Los Angeles (LAX) that I fell in love with aviation. From that day forward, the only thing I wanted to be was an airline pilot.

My road to the cockpit was a very long and difficult one. Oftentimes, I felt as though my desire to become a professional aviator would never be more than just a dream. The problem in our family was always a lack of finances. My parents left their careers as lawyers in El Salvador and had to start from scratch in America. On top of that, I had to go through the very lengthy process of becoming a U.S. citizen. The wonderful thing is that while my family lacked financial resources, they more than made up for it through their love, support, and encouragement to always dream big.

My biggest supporter was my dad. When I was a kid, he was always taking me to LAX to watch planes take off and land from all over the world. It was a thrill! When we couldn’t go to the airport, we would build and fly little model airplanes at the park. Later on, we moved to Santa Maria, California (SMX), right next to the airport. From my backyard, I could see the SkyWest Brasilia planes take off and land. I was 13 years old the day I thought to myself: “Someday, I’m going to fly for SkyWest Airlines.” My dad always told me never to give up on this dream of mine and that with hard work and determination, someday I’d find myself wearing a pilot uniform walking towards my jet.

My dad’s words came true. After years of hard work and saving every penny that I could, I was able to go to flight school and obtain my pilot certificates, ratings, and flight time. I applied to SkyWest and my whole family jumped for joy when I was invited to interview for a position as a First Officer! I can’t describe the look on my dad’s face when I told him the interview went great and that I had been offered a position as a SkyWest pilot. That was the proudest moment for me and something that I will never forget.

Unfortunately, my dad passed away 10 days before my SkyWest class date. The day he passed was the saddest time of my life. However, he and I had this dream together and I knew he wanted me to continue. On the first day of my IOE, as I found myself wearing my pilot’s uniform and walking towards my jet, I could feel my dad’s presence right there with me. To this day, when I’m up at cruising altitude as the sun is going down, I can feel my dad sitting in that jumpseat with a big smile on his face, especially when I’m lining up to land on runway 24R in LAX – where he and I stood for hours watching airplanes come in.

When I meet kids who have an interest in becoming pilots but think it might be too hard or too expensive, I tell them, “If a poor kid from El Salvador can do it, you can do it too!”


SkyWest is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and appreciate the contributions of all those like Captain Azahar who continue help make the airline the best in the industry and for encouraging and inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals. To learn how you could become a part of the SkyWest team, check out our Careers page and apply today.

Hispanic Heritage Month: “SkyWest Changed My Life”

For SkyWest Flight Attendant JJ Jimenez Lopez, working in the aviation industry wasn’t something that had ever crossed his mind as he was growing up.

That all changed when a friend and fellow SkyWest Flight Attendant Vanna Hoang, encouraged him to look into it.

“I bumped into Vanna at a friend’s wedding and we just started talking about her career at SkyWest. She told me how much she loved being a flight attendant and told me that I would be a great fit,” JJ recalled. “She gave me some tips and the next thing I know I was in training and have been a SkyWest Flight Attendant ever since.”

“I’ll never forget JJ texting me and telling me that he got the job,” said Vanna. “I was super ecstatic for him and it’s been great having him at SkyWest.”

Although JJ and Vanna have been based in different crew domiciles over the years, JJ was able to pick up a trip for Vanna recently in what was a full-circle moment for the two of them.

“Vanna introduced me to SkyWest and the aviation industry, and the next minute I’m covering one of her trips,” said JJ. “How cool is that! Every time I see Vanna I make sure to thank her for helping me get here because SkyWest has changed my life.”

Growing up in the small town of Casas Viejas, Mexico – roughly four hours northwest of Mexico City – JJ didn’t have a lot of future career opportunities.

“The town had one phone,” said JJ. “Everyone had to share it and it didn’t take long for everyone to know each other.”

Wanting to give his children more opportunities, JJ’s father, Salvador, worked in the fields as a migrant worker in California. After several years, the family was able to move to the United States, and eventually settled in Utah.

“My parents worked two jobs and did everything for me and my siblings to have a better life,” said JJ.

Unfortunately, JJ’s parents both passed away just over a year ago. While the loss has been tough for him and his siblings, they are continuing to honor their memories by following their examples and keeping their heritage and culture alive.

“I’m proud of my heritage. It means everything to me,” said the Dallas-based flight attendant. “My parents taught me early on about the importance of hard work, dedication, and being proud of where I come from and who I am. My parents came from nothing and gave my siblings and me a better life. Their sacrifice and love is something that I’ll never forget.”

The values and teachings from his parents are paying off for JJ as he is now pursuing his dream to become a commercial pilot. As part of the process, JJ is using SkyWest’s Professional Leave Program (PRO) – which allows employees to maintain employment as they work toward obtaining the training and certifications to become a SkyWest pilot, A&P mechanic or dispatcher.

“I never considered being a pilot until I came to SkyWest,” said JJ. “But that’s what I love about SkyWest. The company is diverse, it’s my second home, I love my coworkers and it provides so many opportunities. I can’t tell you how many SkyWest pilots have taken me under their wing to give me tips and advice to help me succeed as I work towards becoming a pilot.”

The help from coworkers and the doors that have opened to him has not gone unnoticed to JJ, who makes it a point to pay it forward whenever he can.

“When I was working a trip in Detroit, I noticed a family who looked lost in the airport. I’ve been there too,” JJ said laughing. “I went over and introduced myself and asked if they needed any help. They didn’t speak English, but I was able to talk to them in Spanish and help them make their connecting flight. The kids were surprised because they had never come across a Mexican flight attendant before. I told them my story and let them know that anything is possible and to work hard and they will achieve it. I know that first hand because I’m proof of that.”

This past summer, JJ celebrated his five-year work anniversary. The flight attendant and soon-to-be pilot has no plans of going anywhere else.

“I love it here,” said JJ. “SkyWest is my family and I couldn’t be happier.”

To learn how you could become a part of the SkyWest team, check out our Careers page and apply today.

Flying Our Nation’s WWII Veterans

Near the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Clint Cawley, a SkyWest Airlines first officer, kicked off a nationwide celebration of WWII Veterans with a very special passenger.

Joining him in a Stearman aircraft was none other than his grandfather, John Glomstad whom he refers to as “Farfar,” meaning grandfather in Norwegian. Farfar served in the Navy during WWII as a 2nd Class Radar Technician.

Farfar’s energy was inspiring. Adding to the excitement of the day, he also shared countless stories and memories from his service.

“My first job choice was to be a radar technician,” said Farfar. “At that time, it was a new rate, and very specialized, it took over a year of training.”

Farfar recalls his role being so new, his fellow sailors did not know what the insignias on his patches meant.

This flight is part of an effort known as Operation September Freedom. For two months, the Dream Flights Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is hosting similar flights across the country to celebrate other WWII Veterans and the contributions they made through their service.

Clint has been a volunteer pilot for the Dream Flights Foundation for three years, flying his own Stearman. This year he and his wife, a fellow pilot, donated the biplane to the foundation.

Renamed the Spirit of The Pacific it will be used to tell the story of the Pacific Theater and used to help honor our nation’s Veterans.

“This is a great event,” said Farfar, “it brings awareness to faith, country, and freedom. Joining the Navy was the experience of my life, and flying with Clint is the culmination of my time in the service,” reflected Farfar.

Thank you to Clint and all those involved in this admirable cause to give back to our nation’s Veterans.

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“She Went Above And Beyond For Us”

During a recent flight from Salt Lake City to Burbank, California, SkyWest Flight Attendant Shannon Dilling Damota was just going about her duties and doing her best to provide excellent customer service during an unfortunate delay. She didn’t think anything of it when she was entertaining kids and passing out snacks.

But to the Kaye family, Shannon’s efforts to take care of them and other passengers was everything they needed after a long and stressful day. The family, including two seven year olds and a two-year-old toddler, started their trip in Idaho but were faced with several delays and flight changes due to some unexpected operational issues at their departing airport.

“It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said Mitch Kaye. “Luckily the day was saved thanks to the SkyWest crew, especially Shannon who went above and beyond for us.”

After landing in Salt Lake, the Kaye’s hurried to make their connecting flight to Burbank. Once onboard, the crew had to perform some troubleshooting due to the cabin lights flickering on and off, causing the aircraft to temporarily go dark. Shannon got out her flashlight and was busy keeping everyone entertained.

“When I heard their little girl say, ‘The monsters are coming,’ when the lights went off, I quickly grabbed my flashlight and started doing hand puppets to distract her. We also played peek-a-boo and I danced in the aisle like a fool to help calm everyone down. It worked, so it was worth it,” Shannon said laughing.

Shannon was also able to help the family move into their own row in the back of the aircraft, allowing their youngest to fall asleep on the late flight.

“Shannon went above and beyond for us and helped us get through our trip,” said Mitch. “Despite the delays and plane changes, she provided a great experience and made us appreciate flying. I work at a service department for a dealership and understand things like this happen from time to time and that things break down. For me, it’s how a team handles these situations that can set you apart from the competition and SkyWest was consistent and kept us updated throughout the day. We wouldn’t hesitate using SkyWest again.”

When Shannon received those kind words from the Kaye’s a few days later she couldn’t help but cry knowing her actions helped make a difference.

“They were happy tears,” Shannon said smiling. “It meant so much to me. I was just doing my job and honestly didn’t think anything of it. It just goes to show just how far kindness can go, especially in these chaotic times. You don’t know what someone else is going through and I just try to show kindness and help wherever I can. That’s what it’s all about!”

SkyWest’s team of aviation professionals, including our more than 4,000 flight attendants regularly go out of their way to ensure our passengers have a great travel experience on every flight. If you’re ready to make an impact, join the SkyWest team today.

SkyWest Pilots Share Aviation Knowledge with Teens

Teens from across Chicago had a chance to learn what it’s like to work in aviation thanks to a group of SkyWest pilots: Captains Karl Nero and Khashon Haselrig, and First Officer Emmanuel Ogbebor. The pilots spent time with the group of 15 kids sharing their aviation knowledge as part of the annual Aerospace Career Education (ACE) Academy in Chicago. 

Kids around a table at ACE Academy in Chicago.

During the week-long academy experience, teens from across Chicago are able to learn about everything from aerodynamics and aviation physiology to aircraft flight instruments and more. The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) has been hosting ACE Academy across the nation since 1992. Captain Karl Nero, a SkyWest CRJ captain based out of Chicago, helped form the Chicago branch of ACE Academy nearly 10 years ago. 

“Percentage wise, there’s not a lot of African American pilots in the industry and so me and a group of friends started the camp,” said Captain Nero. “It’s part of our passion to get people involved with aviation who wouldn’t necessarily get that exposure. I like that kids who haven’t seen pilots who look like them get to see pilots that look like them.” 

Chicago ACE academy classroom in 2021.

Along with taking courses taught by aviation professionals, those in the academy also got to tour two area airports. At Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) the group met with airline representatives to see how to run a smooth operation. At DuPage Airport (DPA), the kids got to board an aircraft, taxi, and use the radio. 

“I wish there was program like this when I was growing up,” added Captain Nero. “I didn’t see people that look like me when I had the crazy dream to become a pilot, and it would’ve been huge at a younger age to see people who look like me doing what I wanted to do.” 

SkyWest remains invested in bringing more young people into aviation and continuing to enhance diversity across the industry. We are glad to see so many of our people getting involved and strengthening their community. 

Want to join a team that cares about the things you do? Click here to learn more about working at SkyWest today!

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SkyWest Flight Attendant Goes Above And Beyond, Unknowingly Goes Viral

During a flight from Oklahoma City to Houston, SkyWest Flight Attendant Antonio Cromwell didn’t think anything of it when he sat on the floor to assist a passenger sitting in first class.

Later that night, his phone started buzzing with texts and calls from family and friends telling him that he had gone viral.

“At first, I thought people were joking with me, then I had coworkers reaching out and I knew something was up,” said Antonio.

The Chicago-based flight attendant did indeed go viral when a passenger snapped a photo of him playing Pokémon with a young boy to keep him entertained on a flight.

“A father and son boarded the plane and they didn’t have seats together,” said Antonio. “The father asked if his son could sit at the front so that a flight attendant could watch over him during the flight. It wasn’t a big deal and I was happy to help.”

Before takeoff, Antonio introduced himself and talked with the boy to see what his entertainment plans were for the flight. The boy mentioned that he was looking forward to playing an online game against his cousin.

Knowing the boy would need to purchase internet to play his game online, Antonio asked him if he had anything else to play with that didn’t require an internet connection.

To Antonio’s surprise, the boy pulled out Pokémon cards and the rest was history.

“I was more excited than he was when he pulled out his Pokémon cards,” Antonio quipped. “When I was a kid, collecting Pokémon cards was a big deal and I didn’t realize that kids still did that. We talked about our collections and then I told him I would be back in a bit so that I could serve and help other passengers.”

After attending to other passengers, Antonio noticed the boy still wanted to play games online against his cousin. Without hesitation, Antonio went ahead and purchased the internet for him so that he could play.

“Seeing him having fun and playing with his cousin… that’s what it’s all about,” said Antonio. “I was just doing my job and didn’t think it was anything special. I always try to provide great customer service.”

“Antonio is a wonderful example of core4 and really even beyond that level of caring,” added Sarah Murphy, SVP of United Express. “Truly a bright star!”

At the end of the flight and as the family deplaned, the boy told Antonio that the next time they are on his route, he’ll be sure to bring him some Pokémon cards.

 “I’m going to hold him to it,” Antonio said laughing. “But honestly, it was great to make someone’s day and that’s why I love my job.”

The Chicago-based flight attendant is grateful for the opportunity to be a flight attendant and to follow in his aunt’s footsteps.

“I had an aunt who was a flight attendant for more than 30 years,” he said. “She would commute to Chicago and I would get to ride with her to and from the airport sometimes. When she finished her trips, she would tell me about her experiences, places she’s gone and the people she met. It sounded like the dream job and was something that I wanted to do.”

Coming up on his five-year work anniversary, Antonio is thankful he took a chance and followed his heart to become a flight attendant.

“I’m so blessed to have come to SkyWest,” he said. “It’s been amazing and the past five years have flown by. I’ve made so many friends and love interacting with passengers and having positive experiences. I’ve had a bunch of jobs over the years and being a flight attendant is the first time that I can truly say that I love going to work every day.”

When asked what advice he has for people thinking about an aviation career, Antonio replied: “Do it! It’s not your typical 9-5 job, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s a different lifestyle and I love it. My only regret is that I did not become a flight attendant sooner.”

Make an impact and join SkyWest’s amazing team today.

Pride Month: SkyWest Employees Share Their Stories

At SkyWest, we recognize, embrace and celebrate the differences that make each of our 14,000 aviation professionals unique. We are proud of our inclusive work environment and know we are stronger together because of our diversity.

This month, several employees from across the system submitted stories about their SkyWest journey and what Pride Month means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

Wynn Gunter – Flight Attendant, PDX

Growing up in Mississippi, I found it hard being able to accept and appreciate the person I was behind my skin. I had no other friends growing up who were LGBTQ+. I felt alone a lot of the time and felt like I had to keep it a secret. I lived behind a lot of lies because I was ashamed. My mom had no idea that I was gay and I came out to her when I was 18 years old. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows from that point, as it was a challenge for my mom at first.

A couple of years later and I joined SkyWest at the ripe age of 22. I had no intention of becoming a flight attendant, however, working at SkyWest has been one of the best things that has happened to me. Before I came to SkyWest, I was working at a hotel near the Portland Airport (PDX). While there, I met SkyWest crews, including the fabulous Beverly Mendez who told me about the InFlight hiring events that were taking place. She told me, “I better see you there!” So, I found a cheap ticket to fly down to SJC for a hiring event and the rest was history.

Since joining SkyWest, I found a community that I felt like I was truly a part of and have met some of my best friends at the PDX base. I also met my partner of four years through the airlines. Since then we have traveled to Greece, Amsterdam, Belgium, New York City, and countless trips to theme parks across the country. We are huge rollercoaster nerds.

I feel like I owe a lot of who I am today to SkyWest. I finally felt like I found a community that I could be a part of where I could be comfortable with the person who I am regardless of my sexuality. The airline industry is a huge part of our lives now and we are forever grateful for the experience. Being part of a company where you feel recognized and supported for the person you are is a huge key to success. Happy Pride!

Stevie Russell – Flight Attendant, ORD

For Stevie Russell, a Chicago-based flight attendant, SkyWest was the perfect fit for her. Having wanted to be a flight attendant for quite some time, Stevie started researching different air carriers and quickly realized that she wanted to be at SkyWest.

“I did my research and found SkyWest to be very open, accepting, and an awesome place to work. It was a no-brainer for me and knew that SkyWest was the perfect fit for me. Immediately, I felt very welcomed and accepted.”

For Stevie, Pride Month holds a special place in her heart and is an opportunity to recognize and reflect on the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made difference.

“It’s a time to promote love, equality, self-affirmation, recognition and to educate,” she said. “I am able to be who I am today because they were brave enough to have fought and rallied before me.”

When asked what advice she has for those who want to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, Stevie asks that everyone has an open heart and mind and to research and ask questions to someone that you know is a part of the community.

“There are so many different sexual orientations out there; learning what you can about them really helps to understand the people within the community and what it really means to be an ally.”

Justin Shurtz – Maintenance Control, HDQ

My story at SkyWest begins in 2017. I had done corporate aviation until then but decided for a change. What I didn’t expect to find is a SkyWest family. No matter where I go and whenever I meet other SkyWest employees, it’s almost like we are instant friends.

As a gay mechanic, it’s not always easy. When I first started in Salt Lake (SLC), I was terrified about people finding out. But when the time came, I was surprised by what I had found. Everyone in SLC welcomed me with open arms. Fast forward to today, and I’m now in Maintenance Control.

I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. My partner and I have been on many amazing journeys that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The possibilities are endless. The professionalism and respect that I have found at SkyWest just can’t be put into words.

SkyWest may be one of the largest airlines in the world, but we definitely have that small company feeling. As I move forward with my career and with my flight training, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I’m excited to see what the future brings and super excited to be a part of the journey.

Michael Lanzaro Fisher – Flight Attendant, ORD

Growing up, Michael Lanzaro Fisher, a Chicago-based flight attendant, always felt he was different.

“I wasn’t sure how different I was until I was much older,” he said.

Michael describes coming out as gay was a relief that gave him a chance to refocus on his goals for the future. Reveling in his newfound clarity, he flew home to share the special time with his family. It was onboard the aircraft home he noticed the flight attendants’ kindness and professionalism.

“They had such poise and grace,” said Michael. “I admired how they seemed so happy while at work.”

From that point on, Michael felt like aviation was the place for him.

“I don’t know exactly what it was,” said Michael. “Aviation calls to people. It’s not something you just go and pick; it’s inside of you.”

Michael researched how to become a flight attendant and began applying for jobs. He applied for the flight attendant position at several airlines, including SkyWest. After a positive interview experience at SkyWest, he knew it was the place for him.

“I put all the other airlines on the back burner; I wanted to be at SkyWest,” said Michael.

Michael joined the SkyWest team as a flight attendant in 2018. After negative experiences at other jobs, he was nervous about how he would fit in with his coworkers. However, from the beginning, Michael says he was greeted with open arms.

“I’m forever grateful I’m a flight attendant at SkyWest,” said Michael. “My coworkers are very accepting. No one seems to care about your differences; they never put you down — they just treat you as a human being.”

Making an effort to embrace the differences of those around him and to model inclusive behavior with everyone he meets, Michael’s actions are mirrored by countless others at SkyWest thanks to a culture of respect and teamwork that has been built over the last 49 years.

In February 2021, Michael was promoted to lead flight instructor. It was not Michael’s plan to go for a promotion so quickly, but after encouragement from his co-workers, he decided to go for it and is enjoying his new role in Chicago. Michael hopes that in the future people won’t need to come out and that respect and inclusion will be commonplace everywhere. Until then, Michael is grateful for the way his SkyWest team has welcomed him.