Tag Archives: SkyWest Airlines

Hispanic Heritage Month: “SkyWest Changed My Life”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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.

Pride Month: SkyWest Employees Share Their Stories

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

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

Wynn Gunter – Flight Attendant, PDX

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

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

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

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

Stevie Russell – Flight Attendant, ORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justin Shurtz – Maintenance Control, HDQ

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

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

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

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

Michael Lanzaro Fisher – Flight Attendant, ORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Father’s Day: Thanks, Dad!

The saying “it runs in the family” certainly rings true at SkyWest with aviation playing a big part for many of SkyWest’s 14,000 employees.

To celebrate Father’s Day, and to show our dads and father figures just how much we appreciate them, we asked a few SkyWest employees to share how their dads have inspired and guided them.

Jenny Elmer – CRJ First Officer, DEN

My dad has always been my hero since I was a little girl! He was a United Airlines pilot and I aspired to be an airline pilot just like him.

My dad constantly supported me and helped me get through my flight training. He even reinstated his CFI to fly with me while I built my flight time. He instilled the hard work ethic I have and reminded me to always find the fun in flying. Dad found humor in everything! We had a lot of laughs.

In 2005, I became an intern for United and was able to ride on Dad’s jumpseat for a handful of flights. Then in 2006, I was hired as a first officer at SkyWest Airlines. My dad wins the “most flights on your daughter’s jumpseat award”! He was on the jumpseat of one of my Brasilia flights and again several times when I transitioned to the jet! He was so proud of me and I was over the moon to have him on my flights!

I married a SkyWest pilot and my dad came along when my husband picked up one of my trips as captain. After starting my career at SkyWest, I continued flying trips on Dad’s jumpseat and made sure to join him and my husband (who is also at United now) on their jumpseat to Hawaii! I even rode on the jumpseat of Dad’s retirement flight!

I’m so proud of my dad and I will forever cherish the moments we had together flying. He shared all his knowledge of flying and encouraged me to always be the best that I could be. His great attitude led him through an amazing career and I aspire to work hard and to find the fun in every flight!

Thank you, Dad, for helping me become the pilot I am today! I want to make you proud!

Garrett Hintze – Maintenance Control Support, HDQ

Thinking back to when I was first hired at SkyWest, I remember thinking how incredibly lucky I was to have the opportunity to work alongside my father, my life’s biggest role model. Throughout my time here, my admiration for him, as well as our bond, has continually grown. He has always been an inspiration in my life and continues to set a high standard.

Even when it comes to activities outside of the workplace, such as biking, I find myself eating his dust. His sharp wits and high skill set have always been a source of reliance; hence it is no surprise that I find myself working in the same industry. His consistent support, and faith in my capacities, have played a major part in my success throughout life. He is genuinely great at what he does at SkyWest and far exceeds that in his role as a father.

Dad, you have given me the best things in life: your time, care, and love. I am so grateful to have you as my father. Happy Father’s Day!

Ethan Gray – CRJ First Officer, IAH

My dad has always been my primary inspiration for aviation. A decorated fighter pilot now with United, he has supported me throughout the long journey of becoming an airline pilot myself. I have fond memories of him flying over our house in F16s, or going to the airport to watch him land 737s. Flying runs deeply in my family, as my late grandfather was also a lifelong Air Force aviator.

Both my grandfather and dad were instrumental in my success as a pilot. The countless and riveting stories my grandfather shared kept me motivated when training got tough. My dad always had the right advice when I had a poor lesson or felt overwhelmed. If I ever needed some guidance or just a solid flying story, I always knew I could call either of them. Even though their tales consisted of action-packed heroics over enemy skies, it always came back to the fundamentals:

– Use all of your resources
– Never give up
– Never stop learning
– And of course, don’t forget to have fun

When I got the call from SkyWest, my family was ecstatic. In classic dad fashion, my father said “I’m not surprised!” Similar words to what he would tell me after every checkride pass or major milestone I completed. “You studied, you prepared, and now you’ve succeeded!” He, nor my mother, have ever expressed any doubts in my progression. They’ve been nothing but supportive. I am extremely thankful and blessed for this.

Last fall, my dad joined me on a short turn to Lake Charles. He rode in the flight deck jumpseat as Captain Sonny let me fly both legs. Our schedules so rarely line up, it made this experience very special. This was the first time a family member has ever flown with me as a professional pilot. I was so excited to have my dad and hero watching me work in the flight deck. With such experience observing me, I made sure I was on my absolute A-game. Not to brag, but I totally greased the landings for him.

Now with loads filling up, and both of our schedules becoming busier, it will probably be quite a while before we get to fly together again. That makes this experience all the more fun and special to me.

Kevin Law – System Controller, HDQ

I have always been inspired by my Dad to find a career in Aviation. Growing up, my dad served in the United States Air Force flying the EC-121 the F-102 and A-7D, before ending his military career after 30 years.

With a love for flying, my dad began looking into commercial aviation. Turns out we were both fortunate that SkyWest offered him the job. My dad was hired in 1984, and I followed in 1985.

I started as a ramp agent, and a year later, was hired as a Dispatcher/System Controller where I’ve spent the last 35 years. During this time I was fortunate to pre-plan flights and send releases as my dad’s dispatcher. Another fun memory working together is when he was flying into St. George (SGU) and I let him know over the radio that my first daughter was born. I also had great rides in the Brasilia riding in the jumpseat with him. Dispatchers are required to have jumpseat time and it was fun listening to him talk to air traffic control. I could tell they had talked many times before and had a good time ribbing each other. It was great to be able to ride along with my dad and see him do what he enjoys.

I have many happy memories and have enjoyed the many friendships that I have made at SkyWest. Thanks, Dad, and Happy Father’s Day!

“It Feels Good To Go Out And Make A Difference”

Three years ago, while helping with cleanup projects in the Pacific Northwest, a friend challenged SEA First Officer Joseph Leatherman to pick up trash for 30 minutes a week. Not only did Joseph accept the challenge, but he upped the ante, telling her that he would pick up trash for 30 minutes each day.

“I love nature and the outdoors, and I want my daughter to appreciate it and take good care of it so that future generations can enjoy it as well,” he said.

To meet his goal, Joseph started using his layovers to pick up trash everywhere he went. In some cases, he spent several hours picking up trash and other garbage. Neither rain nor snow has slowed Leatherman down either, as he hasn’t missed a day in more than two years.

“Everywhere I go, I take a garbage bag with me,” he said. “You never know what you will find and it feels good to go out and make a difference. It’s always a positive experience because you are doing something great for the community and the environment.”

Having been based in LaGuardia (LGA), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA), Joseph has had an opportunity to help many communities across North America. Joseph has also expanded his efforts by asking fellow crewmembers to join him on cleanups.

 

“I was ecstatic to help Joseph with a cleanup,” said SkyWest ERJ Captain Jade Braff. “I’ve never been approached by another crewmember to do a cleanup before, but I had a lot of fun. The before and after pictures are inspiring. It instills a desire to do more. To work harder and come together as a community to achieve a common goal.”

Over the years, Joseph has collected thousands of pounds of garbage and was even given a delivery truck to fill each day when he was based in New York.

“It was awesome,” he said. “We had so many crewmembers show up to help. It’s always overwhelming to see an area covered in trash and then become a rehabilitated area. It inspires me and keeps me going.”

With so many wanting to be involved, Joseph created a Facebook group called “Eco-Crews,” to provide information about upcoming cleanups. Besides picking up trash, the group plants trees at least once a month to help offset carbon.

 

“It’s been great to see all the support, especially from the SkyWest family,” said Joseph. “Everyone that I’ve dealt with has been great and positive and that’s why it was an easy choice for me to come to SkyWest. With a positive culture, great work environment and great morale, there’s no place I’d rather be.”

And while Earth Day are highlighted in April, Joseph hopes it’s the first step, for many, to do something each day all year long.

“It’s important to remember that we can all do something each day,” he said. “People don’t have to go and do big cleanups. Just picking up a piece of trash each day makes a difference. It all adds up and every little bit counts.”

Learn more about SkyWest’s sustainability efforts here.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

There are countless women at SkyWest Airlines who help to make us the best airline in the industry and who are helping to inspire future generations of female aviation professionals. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked team members to share their thoughts about what the month means to them and their experience at SkyWest.

Ann Marie Nicholas – CRJ First Officer, MSP

Growing up, CRJ First Officer Ann Marie Nicholas was fascinated with planes and loved watching them fly overhead. During those moments, she hoped that someday she would have the opportunity to work in the aviation industry.

“I always thought about being a flight attendant and working in the back of the plane because I didn’t realize that women could be pilots and that it was something that I could do,” she said. “I flew with my family every year growing up, however, I never saw any female pilots on my flights.”

Eventually, she decided to chase her dreams and pursued a career as a pilot. During her first introductory flight in small, single-engine aircraft, Ann Marie wasn’t sure if they would even make it off the ground.

“I remember asking my flight instructor if this thing was going to be able to stay in the air,” she said jokingly. “But it was fun and I haven’t stopped flying since.”

From that moment on, she was hooked and Ann Marie hasn’t looked back.

“The aviation bug hit me pretty hard,” Ann Marie said. “After flying a bunch, I noticed that I would start to get restless when I wasn’t flying.”

Now, the veteran airline pilot is busy taking care of her family as well as flying across the SkyWest system that consists of nearly 2,000 daily flights to 236 cities across North America.

“I love working at SkyWest and my experience has been awesome,” Ann Marie said. “The saying ‘if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life’ is exactly how I feel about my job. I have great coworkers and the schedule and flexibility is great. With so many trips available, there’s really something for everyone.”

Knowing she works in a male-dominated industry, the Minneapolis native does all she can to give back and help inspire future female aviators. Whether it’s instructing or just giving tips and encouragement, the first officer is determined to change the narrative and misconceptions that only men are pilots.

“When I was doing an observation flight early in my career, I went to the gate agent so I could check-in and sit in the jump seat. And despite being fully dressed in my pilot uniform, the gate agent asked if I was a flight attendant. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe it,” Ann Marie recalled. “Fortunately, public perception is changing and I continue to see more female pilots every day.”

For those looking to enter the aviation industry as a pilot, Ann Marie had these words of advice:

“If you have a desire, go for it. Schedule an introductory flight and try it out. If you like it, don’t stop and don’t let anything get in your way. I took that step and it changed my life. I tell everyone that on the eve of my retirement, I want to say that I still love my job. And I know I can say that working at SkyWest.”

Lindsey Scott – ERJ First Officer, PDX

As a third-generation female pilot, SkyWest First Officer Lindsey Scott was born to fly.

As a child, Lindsey loved going to airshows and aviation events and frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events. It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.

Click here to read more about Lindsey and her inspiring grandma.

Nicole Crosby – Seattle Mechanic III 

Nicole Crosby joined SkyWest in 2017 as an A&P mechanic and loves working on all kinds of aircraft to ensure every plane is in top condition for every flight. She enjoys the teamwork environment of SkyWest, including working with another female mechanic, while also being able to put her own stamp on her work.

Nicole Crosby A&P Mechanic

“I was always the only woman mechanic at any one station at other companies, but now I have the privilege of working with another lady here in SEA,” said Nicole. “I think you’d be surprised by the number of female A&P’s that have been certified, worked on aircraft, but now use their skill sets in other positions here at SkyWest.”

Along with being an aircraft mechanic for over 20 years, Crosby has worked in Noise Abatement, as an FAA aviation safety counselor, as an airline and composites training facility maintenance Instructor, dispatcher, and homebuilt aircraft builder, among other positions. She’s repaired aircraft in general aviation and business aviation, from regionals to Boeing 767 aircraft.

Click here to read more about Nichole and her experiences.

Debby Thompson – Flight Attendant, MSP

It was a moment that Minneapolis (MSP) Flight Attendant Debby Thompson won’t soon forget.

After making her way to the gate to check-in, and then boarding the CRJ900 aircraft to work the last flight of the night, the nine-year veteran got a lovely surprise when she met her crewmembers working the flight from Minneapolis to Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month. Despite having worked thousands of flights in her career, that Saturday night flight was the first time that she can remember working with an all-female crew.

“It was fun and a proud moment for me,” said Debby. “I didn’t know beforehand it was going to be an all-female crew. Everyone was excited and it showed just how far women have come in the airline industry and that women can do anything they put their mind to.”

Click here to read more about Debby’s experience.

Experience Pays: First Officer Balances Career and Family with SkyWest 121 Program

Lucy Czupryn, a SkyWest Airlines E175 first officer based in Chicago, started her career as a pilot flying for a different 121 operator. She spent five years gaining valuable flight experience and building her seniority. Then, she shifted her focus to starting a family and left aviation.

“When I started my family, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to come back to aviation,” said Czupryn. “SkyWest made it possible for me to come back to what I love doing. We have several programs to foster and encourage women to return to the workforce.”

When Czupryn returned to the workforce, she decided to take advantage of the SkyWest Industry Experience Credit program. This program offers pilots a pay credit match for their years of FAR 121 experience, up to 10 years. The match also applies credit for 401(k) matching, profit sharing, and leave time accrual.Lucy Czupryn“Prior to that program, there wasn’t anywhere to go to make a lateral move,” said Czupryn. “The 121 program made it an easy choice to pick SkyWest because with my experience prior to my leave, I was able to start at SkyWest with a higher hourly wage. This program made it affordable for me to return to the workforce.”

Czupryn also leaned on the SkyWest Family Support Committee as she balanced raising a family and returning to the skies. The committee, formed in conjunction with the SkyWest Airlines Pilot Association, is a group of SkyWest peers dedicated to supporting women and men through welcoming a new child into an aviation family. This committee provides support through the leave of absence processes, fitness for duty while pregnant and during postpartum, maternity uniform exchanges, pumping, or weaning in preparation to return to work, financial planning for parenthood and one-on-one mentoring.

Through this program, SkyWest provided Czupryn a stable and supportive place to resume her professional pilot career.

“With my flexible schedule, I get to fly and still spend quality time with my family helping at the school, watching their games and practices, or just cuddling and watching movies together.”

Czupryn lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and four children and loves taking her family on adventures. She enjoys seeing new places and expects her career to one day take her to the stars.

“When I was little, I always wanted to be an astronaut,” said Czupryn, who is still striving for space. “I love flying. I love being above the clouds and looking out at the world.”

With her parents’ support, Czupryn grew up attending science camps and classes at local college campuses. She learned to assemble computers and studied successful women, including her own mom. Czupryn’s mother graduated from Purdue University in the first class of computer science majors and set an example for her daughter of being a woman in a male-dominated field.

In high school, Czupryn set her sights on becoming a professional pilot. She followed her mother’s footsteps to Purdue, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in professional flight and a master’s degree in aviation technology while flight instructing to gain flight hours.

“I love the technical challenge of operating aircraft. It’s exhilarating to take off and land such a large vessel and bring people safely from point A to point B,” said Czupryn. “Connecting people to important events in their lives brings me enjoyment as well.”

Czupryn is one of several SkyWest employees who attended the 2020 Women in Aviation International conference. She encourages prospective aviators to keep studying and work hard. “Don’t give up. Find other professionals in the field to talk to about their journey,” Czupryn advises. “And make sure to check out ‘SkyBest’!”

To learn more about the opportunities available at SkyWest and how you can receive industry experience credit, click here.

Dispatch Doubles: Twins Share Their Experience as SkyWest Aircraft Dispatchers

Matt and Mike Jacox – identical twins and dispatchers at SkyWest Airlines – are used to all of the double takes and questions that come with being identical twins.

“When we first started at SkyWest, we had different shifts and people would call us the wrong name because we looked and sounded so much alike,” said Matt. “We’re used to it so we didn’t mind, but we did have some fun with it.”

In fact, Matt and Mike have fully embraced the twin lifestyle. They received their pilot’s license at the same time, the brothers are also brothers-in-law after marrying sisters on the same day, and to top it off, the brothers are also next-door neighbors.

“We’ve been best friends since I can remember and the only thing we don’t agree on is avocados and who was really born first,” laughed Mike.

Naturally, it was only fitting that both Matt and Mike were hired at SkyWest, on the same day, and in the same department.

“We’ve always been together,” said Mike. “We probably have too much fun with it, but it’s really the best thing ever!”

The Jacox twins are no strangers to SkyWest as their mother, Becky, was a flight attendant for eight years before retiring to spend more time with her grandkids. Every time Matt and Mike visit, Becky asks how things are going and reminisces about her time at SkyWest.

“I wanted to keep flying, but I ran out of days off,” Becky said jokingly. “With 10 kids, 27 grandkids under the age of 11 and four weddings in one year, it was time for me to be with my family. But SkyWest will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Matt and Mike were first introduced to the aviation industry thanks to their father, who is currently a pilot at FedEx.

“Our dad would always take us flying when he could and we quickly caught the aviation bug,” said Matt. “It was a lot of fun and a great experience!”

Although working for an airline company and flying commercially is something that both Matt and Mike have always wanted to do, they knew it would be awhile until they accrued the necessary 1,500 hours of flight time to be a commercial pilot. When their parents suggested they look into aircraft dispatching, Matt and Mike jumped at the opportunity to get started with their aviation career.

“Honestly, we had no idea what an aircraft dispatcher position entailed,” said Mike. “However, it ended up being a huge blessing for us because not only did we get to start working earlier at SkyWest, but we also got to see a different side of the operation. There is a lot that goes into an airline operation and being a dispatcher gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together.”

After getting a 10-20 minute weather briefing before starting their 10-hour shift, SkyWest dispatchers watch over and build approximately 50 flights per day. They ensure as many variables as possible are taken into consideration to ensure each flight is ready to go in order to help every aircraft get to their destination safely, and on time.

“There is a lot of work that goes into getting flights off the ground,” said Matt. “Some people think we just click a couple of buttons and that’s it, but in reality, there’s so much more that goes on for each flight. As a dispatcher, our job is to keep everyone safe, give the pilots as much information as possible and to help each other so that our customers can get to where they need to go.”

From planning flights paths and making sure there is enough fuel for each flight, to reviewing airport conditions, airspace restrictions, turbulence forecasts, and thunderstorms, aircraft dispatchers have a lot of responsibilities.

“As a dispatcher, we are getting calls from pilots who have questions and we need to know it,” said Mike. “It’s always exciting when I can answer their questions and it makes me feel important and that what I’m doing is really making an impact.”

“After a flight is completed we’ll get calls from pilots thanking us for our help and letting us know that everything went smoothly,” added Matt. “It’s also really rewarding to know the role we can help play in ensuring passengers make their connections and arrive at their destinations on time!”

Other perks in the position include a four-day workweek, which allows more time to travel or to spend with family.

For those looking to enter the aviation industry as an airline dispatcher, the Jacox twins have a few words of advice:

“The biggest surprise is the amount of knowledge you need,” said Matt. “I continue to learn new things every day. After I was certified I thought I knew a lot, and then I came here and realized that it there was so much more that I needed to learn. The training at SkyWest has been fantastic and has allowed me to really understand the operation and how everything works with each of our mainline partners.”

“People always told me that SkyWest has the best dispatch positions because they have the best training,” added Mike. “And it’s true. SkyWest provides top-notch training and everyone is willing to go the extra mile and help each other out. We love working here!”

To learn more about becoming a part of the SkyWest family, please visit our Career Guide.

Flight Attendants Spring Into Action

SkyWest’s more than 4,000 flight attendants provide exceptional service and help to tens of thousands of passengers every day. They’re also well trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations, including unexpected medical problems.

On Oct. 18, SkyWest flight 5596, operating as United Express, was flying from Chicago to Halifax, Nova Scotia when a passenger notified Rachel Bessey and Sandy Yeary that her child was acting strangely. She said the girl was having a hard time breathing and was lethargic. Rachel and Sandy sprang into action, requesting assistance from medical professionals onboard and providing support as the young passenger was attended to.

“I went straight into what we needed to do, we ended up using quite a bit of [medical] equipment on the plane,” recalled Rachel.

Both Rachel and Sandy said this was the worst medical issue they have ever had on board, but trusting the training and the medical staff, made the difference.

“By re-iterating the policies and procedures in your mind, when an emergency occurs (as the one we experienced), our actions were calm and second nature,” said Sandy.

Photo of: Rachel Bessy and Sandy YearyPrior to landing, the crew requested medical personnel meet the aircraft in Halifax and the passenger was transported immediately to the hospital. Doctors at the hospital identified that the passenger was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Her mother disclosed that they were shocked to learn their 13-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. We are grateful to learn that she has since improved and been released from the hospital.

“The medical professionals on the aircraft were just incredible. They saved the young girl’s life. It was quite an experience to witness,” Said Sandy.

“Everyone was great, all the passengers on the plane were so understandable,” said Rachel. “They all could tell we had it under control and coordinated.”

We applaud our crewmembers service, compassion and professionalism in responding to this medical emergency and continuing to take care of all the other passengers on the flight. It’s a great example of the great work that SkyWest teams are doing across North America every day.

To learn more about becoming a part of SkyWest’s flight attendant team, click here.