Recognizing A War Hero

SkyWest crewmembers Captain Jai Patel, First Officer Brian Osias and flight attendants Janae Hilton and Brenda Garrett recently had the chance to welcome August Sterling, onboard an American Eagle flight from Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). August was a frogman for the U.S. Navy in 1951 and a Korean War Veteran. This flight was his first air flight and was taken to celebrate his 90th birthday with his family in Dallas.

During the Korean War, August was captured by the Korean Army while setting charges to a bridge they were about to destroy.

“When we came up from the water, we were shocked and surprised. It was something to behold. They shot in the water to scare us and so we couldn’t swim away. We couldn’t escape the bullets in the water, so we gave in.”

Out of the five frogmen, only two survived. They were kept in prison for over two and a half years.

“They would beat us 25 hours a day, and we don’t have 25 hours in a day,” said August. “They didn’t stop trying to get information out of us. Asking us for everything we knew and all we would reply with was our name, rank and serial number.”

Finally with the war over, President Dwight Eisenhower negotiated a prisoner exchange, releasing August Sterling and others. He had two broken legs, a broken arm and had to have a metal plate surgically implanted. After being released from the POW camp in Korea, he was sent back to Lake Charles to be treated at St. Patrick’s Hospital.

We are honored to have the chance to celebrate August Sterling on his 90th birthday and we are forever grateful for his service to our country.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Over the last 30 days, we’ve heard stories from SkyWest people that have shed light on the Hispanic culture and how their culture has shaped their stories. As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, we have several more stories to share:

Alfonso Giron Deola – CRJ Captain, ORD
Christian Alvarado Lopez – CRJ First Officer, ORD

Captain Alfonso Giron Deola and First Officer Christian Alvarado Lopez are both from Guatemala City. Captain Giron Deola started at SkyWest more than five years ago and last month was the first time he has flown with someone from his home country. Flying together was an honor for both of them.

In 2017, Christian came to America with an M1 visa to study in Miami, Florida. He worked tirelessly to be able to become a SkyWest pilot.

“SkyWest is an airline that does not judge where you come from, your color, or your ethnicity,” said First Officer Alvarado Lopez. “And I hope to meet more Hispanic pilots throughout my career here.”

Elide Flores – Flight Attendant, LAX

Elide Flores is a second-generation immigrant. Her parents came from Mexico in their early 20s with hopes for a better life.

After joining the SkyWest team earlier this year, Elide was assigned Chicago (ORD) as her base. Her parents are protective and coming from a tightknit, Latina family, they wanted Elide to stay in Phoenix where they live and find a job close to home. Telling her parents she was moving across the country came as a shock to them.

“I insisted that this is exactly what I want and what I signed up for,” said Elide. “I’ve been in ORD for three months and I absolutely love it!”

This is the first time Elide has been away from her family for long periods of time and she is slowly becoming used to it. She keeps in touch with her parents and updates them on her overnight trips.

“Being a daughter of immigrants and having the opportunity to work in an industry where there aren’t as many Latinos is awesome,” said Elide. “I get to be a role model for the Latin passengers who are aspiring flight attendants.”

At the end of the day, Elide knows the sacrifices her parents made to get to this country were worth it. She wouldn’t change it for anything.

Learn how you can join our incredible team by visiting our careers page today.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Uniquely Us

SkyWest is home to a diverse group of people who come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. SBP Station General Manager Jose Vasquez recently shared his thoughts about why Hispanic Heritage Month is so important.

SkyWest: Why is Hispanic Heritage Month important to you? 
Jose: To me, Hispanic Heritage Month, along with all other such celebrations, is an opportunity for all of us to learn about and grow in our understanding of one another. Humans are social creatures, and that understanding and appreciation is vital for our growth and for creating harmony in a shared world. 

Here in California, Latinos account for almost 40% of the total population. Hispanic culture is a part of our everyday life and a key part of my decision-making process here at SBP. As a Mexican-American myself, I am so proud of my culture and inspired by those who share it with me. My heart is filled with joy when I see the sugar skulls on Dia de Los Muertos and my nation’s flags flown together with the U.S. flag on independence days. It is celebrations like this that make me feel welcome and heard here in the U.S.    

SkyWest: How does SkyWest support diversity in aviation? 
Jose: Amembers of an industry that spreads to all corners of the planet, I feel these celebrations to be such an integral element in the connections we make every day with each other and with our passengers. Having insight on another’s culture can be the catalyst in forming a long-lasting work relationship or an incredible aid to helping distressed passengers. SkyWest is an excellent company to work for as they have always made me feel welcome. I feel SkyWest best shows its support for diversity by always appreciating the insight from our multicultural workforce, by striving to offer opportunities for bilingual and multinational employees, and most of all by keeping us all connected with our families and our homes abroad. 

SkyWest: What brought you to SkyWest?
Jose: I have always had wanderlust. My mother, being an adventurous soul herself, made it possible for me to explore both Mexico and the U.S. during summer breaks throughout my youth. During these trips, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience different foods, beliefs, and cultures within my own culture which opened my desire to learn more about the world we live in and unlocked my passion for hospitality. As a first-generation Mexican-American in my family, I was nervous about the job market. Nevertheless, I was given an opportunity and chance to experience the world at SkyWest on January 4, 2005, at the Modesto, California station. Now almost two decades later I am the general manager for my station at SBP and try to give that same chance to other hard-working and wanderlust souls as it was given to me back in 2005.

Thank you, Jose, for sharing your story with us and helping us understand the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. We are fortunate for the influence and difference Hispanic culture has made for our SkyWest team!

Click here to see the open positions on our unique team!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and we are excited to hear from several SkyWest team members whose stories and accomplishments pay tribute to their culture.

Christina Alvarez – Flight Attendant, FAT

When she was eight years old, Christina Alvarez flew as an unaccompanied minor to her parents’ home state of Jalisco, Mexico. In an effort to help her remember her roots, her parents saved money to be able to send Christina to visit extended family for a whole summer.

“I remember looking out the window in amazement at how quickly we left the U.S. and crossed into a whole different country,” said Christina. “I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but I did know one thing: after being cared for by the helpful and kind flight attendants, I wanted to be like them one day.”

That dream stayed in the back of Christina’s mind for many years. She was the first in her family to attend college, but even as she walked across the stage at graduation, she still didn’t know what career she wanted to pursue outside of aviation or travel. A week after graduation, she took a chance at a SkyWest interview at LAX. A few months later, she received her wings.

Now, more than six years later, Christina has traveled throughout much of the United States and Mexico, including places she had never heard of before. She has also helped her parents travel back to their home country.

“I never would have imagined I’d be giving back to them in such a way,” said Christina. “I also met my husband during training and we went on our “babymoon” in Puerto Vallarta (PVR), a beautiful beach city just a few hours from where my grandparents still live.”

Every time she helps someone who only speaks Spanish and needs guidance on finding their connecting flights, she is reminded of her family. She is proud to be a part of their travel memories.  

“It’s really amazing to me that aviation has given me the opportunity to embrace my Hispanic heritage while simultaneously learning more about the country I was born in,” she said. “I’m forever grateful and ’bendecida’ (blessed).”

Joseph Hearn – CRJ First Officer, ORD

When Joseph Hearn was a certified flight instructor, he was preparing to take the next step and was exploring which regional airline to join. SkyWest checked all the boxes for what he was looking for: career progression, numerous bases, and financial and operational stability. He had also grown up on the West Coast and always had a positive experience when flying with his family on SkyWest-operated flights. So naturally, SkyWest seemed like the place to start his airline career and he joined our Pilot Pathway Program as a cadet in 2017.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for Joseph to reflect on his heritage, and also a time to celebrate it. He is a first-generation American, born into a multiracial and multi-cultural family. He takes great pride in coming from a family of immigrants. His mother, aunt, uncle, and grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia in 1960, and currently reside in his family home in North Los Angeles.

“The influence that my parents and Abuela (who just turned 95 in June) have had on my brother and I has made me have more respect for my background, and more appreciation for my family’s humble upbringings,” he said. “Every time we are all together it’s a mini celebration. In Hispanic culture especially, family is a gift that is to be celebrated.”

Joseph said the celebration isn’t just during Hispanic Heritage month either! Every time his whole family is together, they all eat homemade Colombian food.

“My Abuela and I have a cook-off making our own Sancocho, a traditional Colombian meat and vegetable stew, served with Arepas,” he said. “And we enjoy each other’s company and cherish the time together.” 

He believes SkyWest is a reflection of that. He loves being able to come to work every day and to meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures. He’s had the opportunity to visit 14 countries and learn so much in terms of cultural diversity.  Joseph appreciates the effort SkyWest makes not just the customers they serve, but more importantly with their employees as it gives them the opportunity to be themselves regardless of their backgrounds. “SkyWest is made up of people from so many different backgrounds, and the way in which they can get so many diverse people to be able to work together as a team is incredible,” he said. “I think that is what makes SkyWest’s culture stand apart.”

To join our standout culture, visit our careers page today!

SkyWest Celebrates Pride

One of our San Francisco-based flight attendants celebrated Pride in a very special way this month. Veronica Rojas was on an Alaska mainline flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles when she surprised her girlfriend, Alejandra, with a proposal at 30,000 feet in the air. Alejandra, a new Alaska Airlines pilot, said yes, but there was a twist. She was also planning to propose to Veronica the same day. Watch the video that Alaska captured on this unforgettable flight.

“All the love and support is just super overwhelming and amazing,” said Veronica.

Throughout the month we’ve also heard from several other employees about what Pride Month means to them and how they are celebrating.

“Pride Month means more than just supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community, but support for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, national origin etc.,” said Matt Taft. “It’s a month where I stand in support for equality for everyone; everyone deserves to be treated equal, and everyone deserves to be loved the same.”

“Not only do members of the LGBTQ+ community come together,” said Greg Smith. “But, this is also an opportunity to welcome others in the celebration of equal rights.”

As part of Pride Month SkyWest’s beWell program has also provided an LGBTQ+ Ally Guide to help us all become better colleagues, friends, partners and allies. And you can find advice, inspiration and support from people who are on a similar journey in the Sanvello Pride Community.

At SkyWest we are proud to recognize Pride Month. No matter who you are or what you believe, you’re an important part of the team.

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Pride Month: Celebrating and Supporting the Team

Every day we have the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the SkyWest team. As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, here is what a few of our people are saying about what the month means to them.

Matt Taft – General Manager Station, MBS

Seven years ago, Matt saw a SkyWest ad on a job site. He didn’t have aviation experience, but did have a lot of background in customer service positions and decided to apply. Since he started his career at SkyWest, he has loved the diversity of our culture and seeing how we supports each other.

 “For me, Pride Month means more than just supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community, but support for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, national origin etc.,” said Matt. “It’s a month where I stand in support for equality for everyone; everyone deserves to be treated equal, and everyone deserves to be loved the same.”

As the station general manager in Saginaw, Michigan (MBS), Matt has the opportunity to manage an amazing group of agents. He credits the diversity of his team as part of what makes them so fantastic.

Matt works hard to treat everyone on his team the same, and says they support each other and always have each other’s backs. That support is his favorite part about leading the team and the main reason he’s still doing it. Matt credits the SkyWest culture for the amazing group of agents that make up team MBS.

“My experience with SkyWest over the years has had many ups and downs, but the people at SkyWest and the support, love, and acceptance they offer is by far the most amazing thing I have experienced in my career,” said Matt. “I believe every person we come across in life needs some kind of love, support, and acceptance and SkyWest offers that.”

Sala Talamoni – Ramp Supervisor, SLC


Next month, Ramp Supervisor Sala celebrates three years at SkyWest. She was very happy to share her thoughts on Pride Month and even happier that SkyWest recognizes our people throughout the month.

“Pride Month is a celebration of growth for our community,” said Sala. “This isn’t just a holiday for all of the LGBTQ+ community, this is a time to show everyone that we have a voice.”

Madison Boylan – Captain ERJ, SAN

Captain Boylan started her SkyWest journey nearly 24 years ago. Last year, she decided to be honest with herself and everyone around her, especially her second family at SkyWest. She came out as a transgender woman and said it has been quite the experience!

“Transitioning at age 54 makes me a bit of a ‘late bloomer’,” said Captain Boylan. “I questioned whether I needed to reveal the dark secret I had hidden for my entire life, but ultimately I reached a point where I just had to.”

Captain Boylan worried about rejection and was afraid she might jeopardize her ability to continue to pursue her lifelong love of flying and aviation. She’s worked with many of her coworkers for decades and spent so many years of her life alongside them. SkyWest is like her second home.

Last August, she came out to her chief. She was pleasantly surprised that the response was to help get her started with the process. Her chief helped her get her preferred name changed that day and encouraged her to order the women’s uniform. The company continued to help her every step of the way.

“More than just the logistical details, I give SkyWest credit for the acceptance they’ve shown me from the day I began this journey until now,” said Captain Boylan. “Everyone has been so wonderful. I was afraid of rejection, but I have been met with nothing but acceptance, support, and help from everyone around me.”

As she contemplated the response of her SkyWest family, Captain Boylan imagined that this month, her peers are hoping to celebrate both the acceptance and support from those around us and the joy we share in being our authentic selves.

“I volunteer as a mentor with the National Gay Pilots Association, and nothing makes me happier than being a representation of authenticity when I tell my story to others starting their journey,” said Captain Boylan. “The local chapter for Women in Aviation International is starting up again and I look forward to pitching in and helping alongside so many wonderful women who share a passion for flying.”

Steven Jennings – Instructor Ground InFlight, SLC

Steven grew up in a very small town in Oregon. He later moved to Eugene and then decided he was ready to move on and see what life had to offer (and he had an inner calling to see the world!).

Nearly four years ago, Steven was hired as a flight attendant. The SkyWest culture has allowed him to open up and grow, both personally and professionally. He is grateful for how accepting and loving the SkyWest family has been over the years. After meeting so many accepting people here, he realized how much he loved this career because of the rich diversity and culture.

“I think it’s very important to work for a company that recognizes and celebrates your community of fellow LGBTQA+ people for who they are and what they bring to the table,” said Steven.

Pride Month has several important meanings to Steven. It is a time he gets to celebrate and also a time to remember where he came from and how much he’s overcome as a gay man.

“I think it’s super important to remember the violence, hate, and suffering that our community has endured in the past and, unfortunately, continues to endure to this day,” said Steven. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have so much further to go.”

To join our diverse team, visit our job openings.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all our SkyWest dads and to the fathers who helped inspire us to follow our dreams! Here’s what a few SkyWest people had to say about the dads in their lives in honor of Father’s Day.

Alec Wheeler – ERJ Captain (BOI)

“My dad has been my inspiration to fly since my very first flight lesson. We have encouraged each other through thick and thin. Having the opportunity to operate a professional flight deck with him is the highlight of my career! Thanks for everything, Dad!”

Russell Fields Jr. – Mechanic III (FWA)

“When I was a kid, my dad would take me to work with him and my favorite part of the day would be watching the mechanics doing maintenance on the aircraft. This early introduction from my dad is why I decided to be a mechanic. We’ve both been at SkyWest for a couple years now and it’s great to now work alongside him. Working with my dad pushes me to be a better mechanic because he shows me every day to be the best in everything I do. It definitely makes for an interesting job. Happy Father’s Day Dad.”

Dylan Bechtold – ERJ Captain (SLC)

“Some of my earliest memories are of flying with my dad and other pilots when he went out on flight training trips. I remember going to the sim when I was a kid and being able to “fly” the plane with him. It was the most fun I had as a kid and it sparked a love for aviation that I’ve carried through into my career here at SkyWest. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to fly and to one day be like him. My dad has always pushed me to do what makes me happy and has helped me along the way. I am so lucky to have been able to work with him in the sim and in the air in my professional career, and I’m so grateful for all the help he’s given me throughout the years. Happy Father’s Day Dad!”

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Celebrating Pride Month

June is Pride Month and is dedicated to greater unity, visibility, and equality for LGBTQ+ individuals. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing updates from several SkyWest team members about what Pride Month means to them.

Michelle Parent – ERJ Captain, SLC

Captain Parent began her SkyWest journey 22 years ago thanks to a good friend who told her that SkyWest was an amazing company and would be going places.

“Guess what? They were absolutely right,” said Captain Parent. “We had 700 pilots then and now we have almost 5,400!”

SkyWest has since become Captain Parent’s extended family and she truly appreciates our diverse culture.

“I was so scared to transition four years ago,” she said. “But when I did, I was surprised to learn that SkyWest had their arms wide open to assist me at every turn, airspeed change, climb, and descent.”

Acknowledging Pride Month is surreal for Captain Parent. She is transgender and identifies as pan, and during Pride Month she feels like a part of something bigger than herself. She notices the importance to be accepted and to fully accept those around you. Each day she tries to show people that she is no different than they are.

“I am human, I am spiritual, and I cherish my family with my three amazing children who rule my world,” said Captain Parent. “I have a wonderful lesbian partner of the last three years whom I love dearly.”

Captain Parent also says she is thankful for her SkyWest journey and the beautiful friends and memories made thus far.

“In the midst of many headwinds, it’s nice to just take a step back,” said Captain Parent. “To take a deep breath and watch the sun rise above the mountains. And, to appreciate a team of amazing people who are and always will be SkyWest family, regardless of who they are, who they love, where they come from, or what they believe.”

Greg Smith – Flight Attendant, DTW  

Flight Attendant Greg has been part of the SkyWest team for five years. Several years ago, he was ready for a career change and he hoped he could utilize his customer service skills and also travel the world. SkyWest checked both of those items.

“I’m so grateful to have a career where I can engage and meet with passengers from all over the world,” said Greg. “I learn something new on each flight I work. My experience here has been great because I enjoy providing exceptional customer service and I love seeing the excitement and smiles from their travels.”

To Greg, Pride Month is all about celebrating those smiles and the excitement of adventure but in his own community.

“Not only do members of the LGBTQ+ community come together,” said Greg. “But, this is also an opportunity to welcome others in the celebration of equal rights.”

Jay Briggs – Flight Attendant, IAH

Flight Attendant Jay has been at SkyWest nearly seven years. She was encouraged to pursue her career by her mom who was on a flight and thought that Jay would make a great flight attendant. The rest is history!

Pride Month is Jay’s yearly reminder to not be invisible. She says it’s easy to have her identity hidden from the world as a bisexual woman who is married to a man. The invisibility is part of an underrepresentation of a community and identity that she is proud to be a part of. Statistically, bi+ individuals make up the largest population of the LGBTQ+ community, but they are six times less likely to disclose their orientation compared to others in the community.

“As a proud bi individual, Pride Month reminds me how important it is to not hide,” said Jay. “It reminds me that coming to terms with who I am might have been easier if there were more people in my community that talked about being bi+.”

Jay is thankful for the SkyWest culture and says without it, she wouldn’t be who she is today.

“Because of SkyWest, I was inspired to work with our new hires, to become a lead, and to pursue a degree in aviation business administration,” said Jay. “It’s amazing to work for a company where I can be myself and still be a role model for others.”

SkyWest is like family to Jay and she loves being part of the team.

“From non-revving around the world together, to jumping in and supporting each other in times of need, SkyWest is full of amazing people” said Jay.

Join our standout team by visiting our careers page today!

AAPI: Escaping War and Taking Flight

In the 1970s, Cambodia was ruled by communist party Khmer Rouge. War had taken hold of the country and SkyWest Flight Attendant Phally Kent’s father was taken captive. Her mother was determined to keep the rest of her family together and they eventually escaped in 1975 by walking across the border to Thailand. There, they stayed in refugee camps for several years until a Cambodian family living in San Diego sponsored the family through the non-profit organization World Relief to bring them to the U.S. on Sept. 21, 1981.

Once in America, they had to learn English and learn how to adjust to living in a new country. Phally’s education started with learning the ABC’s by watching Sesame Street and two tutoring sessions per day. This continued for several years until she was fluent enough to communicate with her classmates.

It was also during this time that Phally met a neighbor who was a TWA flight attendant.

“I found out what she did for a living and I ran home to tell my mother that I wanted to be a flight attendant,” said Phally. “That was the beginning of my American dream and career path.”

That first conversation with her mom didn’t go well as her mom had other plans for Phally’s life. She told her she didn’t bring the family to America for them to throw away their education. So, they made a deal. Once Phally graduated high school and finished college, she could do whatever she wanted.

“Her approval was all that I needed,” said Phally. “I started my studies and dreamt of being a flight attendant one day.”

After college, Phally taught ESL for a few years and one day while she was in the teacher’s lounge, she saw an ad for SkyWest Airlines. She applied and had her interview at the Catamaran Hotel in Mission Bay, California with over 200 people. She remembers Larraine Caldwell doing her one-on-one interview and still credits her for helping her begin her SkyWest journey.

Phally started her SkyWest career in the new hire class of October 1996.

“I love my job here,” said Phally. “SkyWest is family to me and I’ve made a lot of friends that are now part of my extended family.”

Looking back at how she got here, Phally recognizes the strength and determination of her mom and great-grandmother – two of the strongest women she knows and admires. 

They are her roots and have shaped who she is today. Phally continues to learn from them, and her Cambodian-Chinese heritage, and she passes on what she has learned to her daughter.

“SkyWest has given me so many opportunities in the many leadership roles that I’ve held throughout the years,” said Phally. “But, most of all, I love SkyWest for helping my dream of being a flight attendant come true.”

Visit our careers page today to make your own aviation dreams come true.