Tag Archives: Affinity

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: Pilots Embrace Asian Family History

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we asked several team members to share what this month means to them. 

Adam and Daniel Malik – ERJ First Officers, LAX

E175 First Officers Adam and Daniel Malik are first-generation Asian American brothers. They make up a small percentage of Asian pilots in America and hope to inspire more.

“We hope to change that percentage by encouraging diversity and inclusion,” said Adam.

Their pilot dreams began when they were young. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, their childhood home sat under the approach path of the Buffalo Niagara Airport (BUF). The brothers would watch the aircraft overhead while they were playing in the backyard.

To start their aviation journeys, they began fueling and washing aircraft at a local FBO. Working there, they earned money to complete flight training and attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale together. They were in the same new hire class and were sim partners at Surf Air, Envoy Air, and Compass Airlines.

After being furloughed at Compass Airlines, the brothers came to SkyWest. Once again, they were placed in the same new hire class and had the privilege of being sim partners throughout training. Now, they are both based in Los Angeles.

“May is a special month for us and our fellow Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals,” said Adam. “We are proud to work for a company that recognizes diversity and inclusion, and encourage others to never forget where you came from.”

Both Adam and Daniel enjoy setting an example for others hoping to achieve their dream of becoming a pilot and are proving anything is possible for Asian Americans.

Kizna Loosle – CRJ First Officer, MSP

Kizna Loosle’s dream to become a pilot started when she was a little girl. For her 10th birthday, Kizna went on her first discovery flight and knew that was what she wanted to do!

Kizna grew up in Las Vegas and attended a high school with an aviation magnet program. She received her private pilot’s license her senior year and then went to Utah State University where she studied aviation.

At Utah State, Kizna was a flight instructor, taught ground school on campus, and had a student internship for SkyWest Flight Operations. During that time, she knew SkyWest was the best fit for her. Before coming to SkyWest, she gained flight hours by flying tours for Scenic and Grand Canyon Airlines. She met her husband at USU, and they were new hires together at Scenic and also at SkyWest.

Kizna started at SkyWest on the Brasilia before moving to the CRJ. She is the co-chair of SkyWest’s Family Support Committee, something that she is passionate about as a mom. She is also a mentor and conference committee member for the Professional Asian Pilot Association (PAPA) and is currently coordinating cultural events for their first expo in July.

“I am proud to be a Japanese and Filipino Woman,” said Kizna. “Recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and spotlighting different cultures is really important.”

Kizna has two daughters that she teaches her heritage to. As a family, they enjoy eating Japanese and Filipino cuisines and learning about different parts of the world. Kizna’s grandmother was one of her greatest supporters and having her granddaughter in the airline industry was monumental for her.

“I’ll never forget the way she always beamed with pride when she saw me in my uniform,” said Kizna. “I’m grateful every day that she had the courage to move to America from the Philippines.”

Kizna likes the welcoming atmosphere at SkyWest and connecting with her coworkers.

“Representation truly matters and it’s fun to learn about each other’s amazing backgrounds,” said Kizna.

Check out our careers page to see our current openings.