Category Archives: SkyWest People

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.

AAPI: My Ethnicity Shaped My Aviation Story

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are excited to highlight some incredible employees we have working here at SkyWest. This includes people like Bruce Chang, a SkyWest A&P mechanic in Colorado Springs. Bruce says his SkyWest journey actually began before he was even born.

“I enjoy being at SkyWest because of the community I experience and the way we embrace diversity here,” said Bruce. “SkyWest started from humble beginnings, similar to my family’s story.”

During the Vietnam War, Bruce’s parents boarded a plane with other refugees in the jungles of Southeast Asia and came to America. They were among the first Hmong people to enter the U.S. The new culture was a shock, and learning the language and how to drive made their new everyday routine difficult to navigate. But his parents knew the challenges would pay off for their five children here in the land of the free.

Bruce’s father loved aviation. Bruce remembers looking over his large collection of aviation books and watching him build airplane models. His dad also took the family to air shows every year and loved being near all aircraft. Bruce’s great uncle actually maintained and piloted helicopters, like the Bell UH-1, during the war and Bruce’s dad hoped to do something similar in the U.S. Ultimately, Bruce’s dad had to choose a different path to provide for his family.

After graduating high school, Bruce was excited to continue helping his family find their brighter future. His parents had encouraged him to seek higher education and a career like a doctor, mathematician, or an engineer. Several years into college, Bruce realized those careers were not for him. He discussed his circumstances with his dad, who remembered his aviation dreams as a young adult. His dad enthusiastically told Bruce about his earlier dreams and their family history in aviation. He also noted there were few Asian people in the aviation industry and encouraged Bruce to look into the field.

Thankfully, there was an AMT school and a SkyWest maintenance hangar nearby. Knowing how proud it would make his father, Bruce followed his father’s advice. Bruce and his dad went and met with a school counselor, toured the facility, and talked with the director. Bruce enrolled that day. Thanks to the hard work that his parents instilled in him, Bruce graduated Valedictorian and as the head of the diversity club. After graduation, he applied at SkyWest and the rest is history.

“Now, I look back and think about how my ethnic background has influenced where I am today,” said Bruce. “The overwhelming challenges my parents faced and the experiences we had empower me to move forward.”

Bruce knows being Asian American helps him better see the beauty and worth of cultural differences and accept them.

“I believe I can bring value to this world like my parents did,” said Bruce. “I think I can still make a positive difference. It’s easy to be passive and let the world around pass by, but I choose to be different. Being Asian American has helped open my eyes to this perspective.”

Bruce is excited about people of all ethnic backgrounds entering the field of aviation. He has enjoyed watching the positive change over his 11 years as a mechanic at SkyWest.

“My coworkers acknowledge my Asian American heritage rather than ignore it,” said Bruce. “SkyWest is a company that values diversity; it is apparent in their acknowledgement of AAPI month.”

Become a part of our diverse team by visiting our careers page!

Celebrating SkyWest Women in Aviation

As part of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting and recognizing employees across the system. Here is what a few had to say about the work they are doing and how it is continuing to pave the way for more women in the aviation industry.

Viola Henderson – Mechanic, DTW

Being an A&P mechanic is one of Viola Henderson’s biggest accomplishments. Growing up in Detroit, Viola lived down the street from a small airport and her love for aviation started at a very young age. The constant sound of airplanes only piqued Viola’s fascination. She would often ask her parents to walk down the block so she could get a closer look.

“I still remember the first day I walked down there. A prop plane was waiting to take off,” said Viola. “There I was, a small kid with her face pressed up against the fence. I knew then that I wanted to be around airplanes every day of my life and I was going to do everything in my power to make it happen.”

Viola attended Wayne State University and changed her major four times because nothing made her happy. She sought advice about what to do to be happy and successful, and was continually asked, “What makes you happy?” or “What do you like to do?”.

“My answer was always about airplanes, but I thought, ‘I’m a girl. I’m not going to be able to work with or around them,’” said Viola.

She then went to culinary school, but after 13 months there, knew that it still wasn’t the path for her. Finally, Viola began chasing her aviation dreams. She found a cleaning job at the airport and during that time was able to talk with aircraft mechanics. After a year and a half of cleaning aircraft toilets, she got her first job for an airline.

While working the front counter, she noticed a woman checking in was wearing an FAA badge. As she talked to her, she learned that the woman was also an aircraft mechanic. She told Viola to apply at a local aviation school and, as soon as the woman left, Viola found one, enrolled, and started the next week.

At the end of 2021, Viola graduated and received her A&P license.

“I kept telling myself that no one was going to stop me!” said Viola. “I had a lot of female support. Female instructors would tell me that it was not going to be easy in a male-dominated field, and they were right.”

After several experiences, Viola applied for a maintenance technician job at SkyWest. A few weeks later, she had her interview with her current manager, Chris Clem, who made her decision to choose SkyWest even easier.

“The help and openness SkyWest has given me has made me believe I made the right decision,” said Viola. “The other mechanics help me and answer my questions. And Chris always makes sure I have what I need to succeed.”

Viola recently finished her borescope inspection and is excited about her career at SkyWest.

“My advice to other women out there is don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to speak up and be heard, because you can do it just like I did!”

Allison Carroll – Dispatcher, HDQ

Allison Carroll started at SkyWest in 2013 and worked in various roles before becoming a dispatcher about a year ago.

When asked about her experience as a female dispatcher, Allison said, “We all have the same qualifications and the same goal, and I’m glad I can offer my professional perspective and viewpoint on situations.”

Women’s History Month stands out to Allison because it showcases how she is able to do what she does every day.

“It wasn’t long ago that women weren’t able to simply work for income or work under their own name,” said Allison. “I can do both.”

Allison enjoys seeing SkyWest’s support of women and the growing number of women who are working in every department throughout the company.

“It has come a long way, but I would love to see even more balance in the aviation industry,” said Allison.

Veronica Ortega – Mechanic III, MKE

When Veronica Ortega looked up information about becoming an aviation mechanic online, almost all the information materials depicted male technicians. Thankfully, that didn’t stop her. She quickly learned that anyone could do it and has worked hard to prove that there is a place for females in the field. Joining the ranks of other A&P mechanics felt like a whole new world to Veronica.

“I didn’t realize how big aviation was,” said Veronica. “But at SkyWest, I felt like I belonged.”

Reflecting on Women’s History Month, Veronica’s says her goal is to celebrate strong women who wanted to break out of the gender norms they were placed in.

“Women can do anything. We are strong!” said Veronica. “We can fix aircraft, fly aircraft, or anything else we set our minds to. No one can say we can’t; we can!”

During her time at SkyWest, Veronica has had many great A&P mechanics as role models – both men and women. All of them have taught her how to be a better aircraft mechanic.

“I did not come from a mechanical background, but I wanted to learn,” said Veronica. “If you are willing to learn and work hard, the SkyWest family will help you. Shout out to all the great mechanics in MKE!”

We are so glad to have difference-makers like Viola, Allison, Veronica, and many others on the SkyWest team! Find your place on our team by viewing our careers page today!

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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.

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.

“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.