Tag Archives: Pilot

AAPI: Honoring Diverse Histories and Cultures

The SkyWest team is the best in the industry thanks to our people and the various skills and strengths we bring to work every day. As we continue to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, read what Captain Lauren A. and Mera B. have to say about their experience at SkyWest and how they share their culture with those around them.

Captain Lauren A. – CRJ Captain DFW
Captain Lauren A.’s journey with SkyWest Airlines began as a college student, non-revving between Phoenix and Honolulu thanks to her father, a Delta Air Lines mechanic. Inspired by how happy our crews always were, Lauren set her sights on becoming a pilot with SkyWest. Proudly of Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, and English descent, Lauren embraces her diverse heritage and loves the unity that defines our company culture.

“Every flight feels like a reunion,” says Captain Lauren A., recalling her encounters with fellow Polynesians and Asians. “No matter where we go, we always find the island connections. The Aloha spirit lives on in all of us.”

Beyond the flightdeck, Captain Lauren A. celebrates her family culture by sharing traditions, customs, and favorite meals with her crews, hoping to share her sense of belonging and appreciation.


Mera B. – Parts Clerk OKC
Mera says that Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a deeply personal and prideful experience. Born in Oahu and hailing from the Marshall Islands, Mera finds solace in wearing handmade Marshallese accessories and supporting local island businesses, even while residing far from her homeland.

“As the saying goes, ‘You can take the girl from the Island, but you can’t take the Island from the girl,'” Mera said. “I am proud to be a Marshallese, I am proud to be an Island girl!”

Grateful for the inclusive environment fostered at SkyWest Airlines, Mera emphasizes the importance of celebrating AAPI month as a means of honoring diverse histories and cultures.

“In our family, we are builders, war survivors, songwriters, and missionaries,” said Mera. “But the common thread is our commitment to preserving our land and heritage.”

SkyWest Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and at SkyWest we take pride in the rich diversity of our team and the various backgrounds and cultures of our people.

Lika F. – Coordinator Crew Admin, HDQ

Lika, a coordinator crew admin at HDQ, doesn’t limit celebrating her culture to just the month of May; she embraces every opportunity to share what her heritage means to her and how it influences her life and career at SkyWest.

“Recognizing AAPI Heritage Month is important to me because it acknowledges the significant achievements, contributions, and impact of Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals and communities in history, culture, and society,” Lika explains.

As a member of the Pacific Islander community, specifically from the island of Samoa, Lika sees this month as a beautiful reminder to preserve cultural memory and to take pride in her identity. One key aspect of her heritage being her family and their history as farmers on the island, a connection of land and people that she describes as, “deeply rooted in the Samoan people.”

“The land is a source of life,” Lika said. “My family spends a lot of time outdoors together maintaining our cacao, plantain, and taro plantations. Once harvesting season comes, we prepare the crops to be taken to the farmers market for sale. We are planters and farmers. This is who we are, and it’s a part of who I am.”

So, how does Lika celebrate her culture? For her, it’s all about family and community.

“There’s no better way to celebrate than being surrounded by family at a cookout,” she says. “Traditional Siva or dancing is always the highlight of any Samoan cultural celebration. Whether it’s the art of dance and storytelling, listening to cultural music, learning and speaking the native language, or wearing traditional garments, there are many ways to celebrate our culture.”

The desire to be surrounded by a positive culture and community was an important part of Lika’s journey to SkyWest.

“I came to SkyWest after hearing a lot of positive feedback about the culture and leadership,” Lika says. “Along with its prestigious reputation, SkyWest also presented endless opportunities for professional growth and development.”

Captain Johnny C. – ERJ Captain, ORD

Captain Johnny C.’s journey with SkyWest began long before he became an airline pilot. As an exchange student during his first visit to the United States, his initial flight to his host family was operated by SkyWest.

“I quickly noticed the immense presence this airline had in the country,” Captain Johnny C. recalled. “I knew then that SkyWest would offer me a diverse range of flying experiences, unlike any other.”

This month, Captain Johnny C. has been reflecting on his journey from Taiwan to the Midwest and the significant importance of AAPI recognition.

“Understanding and embracing our differences allows us to break out of our shells,” he said. “Even though we are far from our home countries, this helps us feel closer to our heritage. This month, we can truly live, laugh, and smile as we celebrate our cultural differences through food, clothing, and various activities.”

For Captain Johnny C., the most unique aspect of his culture back home is the variety of street food that he misses celebrating. He also misses seeing others wearing traditional clothes, as it was a way to show pride in their ancestors and tribes.

“I’m grateful to be a part of this month’s celebration of AAPI,” said Captain Johnny C. “Our cultures are like a massive melting pot. Although we may look different, we share many similarities and view each other as family. That’s what it’s all about – the support we give our brothers and sisters to succeed in this industry, where we make up only a fraction of it.”

Throughout the month, we will feature updates from employees across the operation sharing their thoughts about what AAPI Month means to them and how their culture and background have shaped their experience at SkyWest.

National Siblings Day: Brothers and Pilots

The choice to become a pilot is a monumental decision and it comes in many shapes and sizes. For some, it starts as a childhood dream and, for others, it comes from their adventurous spirit and desire to see the world. First Officer Colton S.’s decision came thanks to the example of his brother and has led him to a fulfilling and invigorating career.

Colton’s brother, Captain Cody S., joined the SkyWest team in 2001. As Captain Cody was transitioning from the E175 to the CRJ in 2019, his simulator instructor, Captain Adam M., encouraged him to share the experience with his friends and family. This gesture not only gave Colton a chance to learn more about what it is really like to fly an aircraft but led to his decision to pursue a career in the skies.

“[Cody sharing his experience] was the moment that really changed everything for me,” Colton said. “It was really eye-opening and helped me understand why my brother enjoyed his career so much. I left [the conversation] with the realization that I was not enjoying what I did for a living and that someday I wanted to become an airline pilot for SkyWest, whatever it took to get there.”

“I feel for Colton it was a life-changing experience when he realized this is something he could do, and it could provide a stable career for him and his wife’s future,” Captain Adam M. said.

Shortly after, Colton enrolled in flight school at ATP in Ogden, quit his job, and surprised his brother Cody with the news a few days before class began by wearing his new school’s apparel. Colton enjoyed his time as a student at ATP, earning his CFI, CFII, and MEI. While building his hours, he became a flight instructor, then a lead flight instructor at ATP, and joined the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program. 

“I was a SkyWest cadet, and it was truly the only airline that I had considered or looked into, so I am fortunate to have made it here,” Colton said.

Colton has since graduated from flight school and is currently a SLC-based first officer.

“This has truly been a full-circle journey from the start of my aviation pursuit to where I am today,” Colton shared. “I want to thank Captain Adam M., my simulator instructor, for playing such a big role in a major life-changing decision, and I hope to fly with him someday! Also, I want to thank my brother Cody for all of his support throughout my aviation journey so far and for being a great example to me. We are both looking forward to flying together in the near future!”

Thank you, Captain Adam M. and Captain Cody S., for sharing your love for aviation. Welcome to the SkyWest family, Colton!

I Always Love Having an All-Female Crew

SkyWest operates nearly 2,000 flights every day. In just the last few months, several of these flights have been operated by an all-female flight crew. While the overall flight itself may be ordinary, check out what our people had to say about these flights.

ERJ Captain Claire F. and Flight Attendant Toni M. were part of an all-female crew that had the chance to meet SkyWest, President and CEO Chip Childs.

“I always love when we have an all-female crew,” Captain Claire F. said. “It’s always a LOT of fun!”

All-female crews provide a great opportunity for customers to see that the aviation industry is for everyone, no matter your gender.

“If you can see her, you really can be her,” Captain Claire F. added.

For Toni, being a part of an all-female crew is always heart-warming.

“Not only are SkyWest flight attendants and pilots among the best in the aviation industry but whenever I work with an all-female crew, I have an increased sense of pride that our company values diversity, equity and inclusion,” Toni said. “And our passengers benefit from our collective expertise when they fly with us.”


Lisa H., a Chicago-based flight attendant is proud of all the women that represent SkyWest and aviation in general. She was also extremely honored of be a part of an all-female crew.

“This does not happen very often and on the occasion that it does, it feels quite amazing,” she said.

Lisa described Women’s History Month as a chance “to show young girls to set their goals high and to be able to see women who have achieved their dreams.”


First Officer Kalley G. and Flight Attendant Debra A. said they were especially excited when they learned they were part of an all-female crew on International Women’s Day. Debra described it as “PURE JOY,” and described the passenger’s joyful shock when they realized the unique situation. Many even asked to take pictures with the crew.

“I’m so proud to be part of SkyWest,” Debra said.

“It is incredibly amazing to be a part of an all-female crew,” Kalley said. “We did receive a lot of recognition and I truly think that an all-female crew is so important. Years back when I was a child, I really did not know that women could be an airline pilot. Having an all-female crew shows others that their hopes and dreams are achievable and limitless… The industry is a great workplace for women and there is plenty more room for those future aviators! The advice I would give to women who are interested in joining the industry is that you can do both: be a woman and be a pilot. You do not have to change who you are to fit in. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment but enjoy the journey because it is so worth it!”


Flight Attendant Favi M. and CRJ First Officer Alex Aragon H. experienced their first all-female flight together enroute from Sacramento (SMF) to San Francisco (SFO).

“In my six years of aviation I have never flown with another woman, let alone an entire female flight crew,” Alex said. “The flight itself was ordinary but meant much more to myself and my coworkers.”

“I think this picture dictates the beauty of how far we can strive in our careers here at SkyWest,” Favi explains. “I am definitely a proud employee and proud to be a part of such an amazing organization.”


In January, Captain Kimberly P., First Officer Rachel M., and Flight Attendants Christina H. and Traci N. safely brought passengers to Durango, Colorado (DRO), Phoenix (PHX), and Eugene, Oregon (EUG) where they were grounded due to an ice storm. Despite the setback, these remarkable women maintained their spirits, even lending a hand to the hotel staff in cleaning up the restaurant area.

For Rachel, being a part of an all-female crew was empowering and she is hopeful to see more people getting involved in groups like the Ninety Nines or Women in Aviation.

Captain Kimberly P. shared that flying with an all-female crew provides a “different type of camaraderie” and a relaxed but upbeat atmosphere.

“Don’t doubt yourself because you’re a woman,” Captain Kimberly P. encourages. “I find that some of the most dedicated pilots I’ve flown with are females, and there’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it!”


Black History Month: Living My Lifelong Dream

Throughout the month we’ve heard incredible stories from SkyWest people about their journeys to aviation and how their culture has influenced their careers. Before Black History Month ends, we want to highlight the experience of MSP-based First Officer Ryan B., an aviation pioneer for his family and community.

Ryan B. – First Officer CRJ

CRJ First Officer Ryan is proud to be a Black aviator and even prouder to be the first in his family to achieve this milestone.

“Being an airline pilot is something that I wanted to do since I was a kid,” said Ryan. “I did not think it would be possible for a person like me to achieve their dream. It took me sitting in an accounting class and watching planes fly into the Chicago O’Hare Airport to make the switch.”

Realizing he couldn’t continue doing something he didn’t love, Ryan took a chance on his aviation dreams. His pilot journey began in 2017 at Purdue University; continued through instructing in White Plains, New York; and finally obtaining his Airline Transport Pilot license in Salt Lake City, Utah. He joined the SkyWest team in 2021, accomplishing his childhood dream of becoming an airline pilot.

“SkyWest has given me the opportunity to live my lifelong dream,” said Ryan. “Some of the best moments for me here at SkyWest are when a passenger or a ramp worker tells me how happy they are to see someone like them in the flight deck. Not only does it inspire them to achieve greatness, but it inspires me to work harder towards my goal of being a Captain at one of our major airlines.”

For Ryan, Black History Month means taking advantage of all the opportunities life presents and making something spectacular with it. He credits the unwavering support of his family, friends, and colleagues at SkyWest, without whom his achievements wouldn’t have been possible.

Keep Reading

Throughout the month, we’ve also celebrated the remarkable achievements of individuals like Maintenance Admin Mike M. and Flight Attendant Myah D., whose unwavering resolve exemplifies the boundless potential within us all.

Additionally, we highlighted First Officer Kamia B. and Flight Attendant TK S., whose diverse backgrounds and personal journeys fuel their dedication to community service and volunteerism.

Black History Month: Community Contributors

In honor of Black History Month, we asked several SkyWest team members to share their unique stories and tell us why this month is so important to them.

Kamia B. – First Officer, DEN

Joining the SkyWest team was a deliberate choice for First Officer Kamia B. She was drawn by our reputation as a top regional carrier, and she had her sights set on a SkyWest career from the beginning of her pilot journey.

“Everyone has always spoken so highly of SkyWest,” said Kamia. “Knowing it is the best is why I’m here. Since joining, I’ve had the privilege to meet and fly with flight instructors that used to teach at the same flight school that I received my training at, and it’s created so many opportunities for me.”

For Kamia, Black History Month means recognizing and understanding the importance of representation, especially in the context of aviation. With only 100 Black women serving as airline pilots nationwide, she believes this is a great time to highlight a career choice that many people deem unattainable.

“I get so many young women asking me how to become a pilot who didn’t realize that they could pursue this profession,” said Kamia. “You can inspire someone to do anything by highlighting the achievements of people who look like them.”

Kamia actively celebrates her culture by volunteering and mentoring aspiring pilots, particularly those who share her heritage. Recently, she participated in the Sisters of the Skies conference, an empowering gathering of Black women commercial pilots. Kamia has also been recognized as the 2024 Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award recipient.

Overcoming the odds to achieve her dream, Kamia sets out to inspire others and now strives to educate and inspire future generations.

TK S. – Flight Attendant, LAX

Almost seven years ago, TK S. began her SkyWest journey as a Detroit-based flight attendant. A career decision that she says has become one of her purpose-driven passions, and a place where she’s been able to accomplish her personal motto: live to give.

“Soon, I’ll have been with SkyWest for seven years,” said TK. “I still love it as much as I did when I started because of all the amazing memories I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had.”

One of her most cherished memories occurred within a few months of successfully completing her new hire training, on an overnight trip in Boston, Massachusetts. Accompanied by a fellow flight attendant, they visited Harvard for a grounds visit, where they stumbled upon an auditorium with a sign announcing a speech by author and Professor of Law, Angela Davis. Professor Davis had been the woman TK admired the most while growing up as a young girl in the 70s.

“I’ll never forget meeting her as long as I live,” said TK. “She was a trailblazer who stood up for what was right and fought tirelessly for the rights of Black Americans. We not only had the privilege of meeting with Angela Davis but also her sister, who invited us to stay for dinner with their team. Because of my flight attendant career, I was able to meet my childhood hero at 48 years old, that’s what I call Black History in the making!”

No stranger to trailblazing acts, TK’s commitment to serving others extends beyond her profession, as she’s made it a point to volunteer at orphanages during her vacations and organize toy drives for the less fortunate. As a former Food Network 2014 Chopped finalist, organizations also ask TK to use her culinary talents to benefit underprivileged children and raise awareness to great causes. Her dream is to coordinate annual trips for flight attendants to places like Tanzania, where they can volunteer and help local communities.

From Passenger to Pilot in N712SK

Many young passengers dream about what it would be like to be in the flight deck, flying an airplane when they are traveling. For SkyWest CRJ First Officer Derek Baker, that dream truly came full circle when he recently made an unexpected discovery.

“I was going through some old photos and found an image from when my family and I visited Salt Lake City, Utah on a ski trip,” said Derek. “After taking a closer look at an image of 10-year-old me at the airport, I knew that I recognized the tail number, N712SK. It was definitely a SkyWest aircraft!”

Derek has been a CRJ pilot with SkyWest for almost four years now and was completely unaware of the connection he had with N712SK.

“After a week of finding that photo, I flew the same tail number from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (DFW) to Austin, Texas (AUS),” he said.

Following the flight, Derek made sure to re-create his childhood photo in front of the aircraft that he now operates as a pilot. He noted how surprising it was to find the image of his younger self and how much he loves being able to fly the aircraft as a pilot.

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!

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.