Tag Archives: SkyWest People

Hispanic Heritage Month: Uniquely Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

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

Christina Alvarez – Flight Attendant, FAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joseph Hearn – CRJ First Officer, ORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!

Black History Month: Role Models

As part of Black History Month we have been sharing the stories of several SkyWest team members. There are also a number of the Black aviation professionals on the SkyWest team who have helped to pave the way at our airline too:

Beverley Mendez – Flight Attendant, SFO
Beverley Mendez was among our first Black flight attendants and was willing to share her story. Beverley wanted to work for an airline and came across an employment ad for United Express/SkyWest Airlines as a customer service agent in 1999. As she was talking to the hiring manager, they learned she was interested in being a flight attendant and referred her to InFlight.

In addition to flying the line, Beverly has worked as an InFlight instructor and chief flight attendant, now known as regional operations managers.

Beverley has a passion for customer service and caring for people and like most of the employees here at SkyWest, she has a passion for the sky and traveling.
“What I love most about Black History Month is an opportunity to educate, learn and share our contributions made as Americans,” said Beverley. “My most iconic Black history moment was made Feb. 16, 2013 when I met Colin Powell.”

Faz Faruki – The First Black Pilot at SkyWest
Faz Faruki always knew that he would fly. While growing up in Uganda, he was inspired by everything aviation as he listened to stories of the great Black aviators in America.

After moving to the U.S. to start his family, he knew it was time to test his wings. Faz started flying for SkyWest in 1986 out of Santa Barbara and was the first Black pilot on the team. He spent 27 years flying at SkyWest.
“I never thought about being the first of anything, let alone the first Black pilot at SkyWest,” said Faz. “I never focused on that because my time at SkyWest was great and everyone treated me so well.”

When asked about his time with SkyWest, Faz said, “From scheduling to dispatch, everyone made me feel welcome! The people I worked with made it a great experience. A great company that let me have a greater job”.

The highlight of his time here was flying with his son Shahn, who was a first officer with SkyWest, right before retiring.
“I feel honored because for me Black History Month means being a Black person who can work hard and not care about what everyone else is saying,” said Faz. “I hope someone is inspired along the way. I am grateful for my time as a pilot and I’m happy I flew with SkyWest, especially as the first Black pilot.”

Elamin Elamin – General Facility Maintenance, SLC

In 1998, Elamin Elamin started working at the SLC airport. During his time there, he worked alongside many SkyWest employees and knew he wanted to work for SkyWest. In 2007, he got his chance when he received a job offer at the SkyWest hangar in SLC.

I have a very large family here in the states and in Sudan, and I work hard for them,” said Elamin. “I love my job at SkyWest because I get to be with my family and I get to travel to see them more than I could anywhere else.
When asked about what this month means to him, Elamin said, “Black History Month is important because it reminds me to be grateful for so many things. I think hard on the time I’ve spent working for my family and the love I have for them. My wife is having a baby very soon and think of the love that is coming. This month I think of the gratitude I have for those in my life at home, work, and everyone around me.”

Eddie Owiti – First Officer, DEN
First Officer Eddie Owiti began his SkyWest journey nearly a year ago. Prior to joining the team, he was working for a government subcontractor as a UAV chase pilot in the Southern California high desert. He was nearing the ATP hour minimums and came to a crossroad in his flying career.

“I considered going the corporate route to build my time for the majors, however, many friends and previous colleagues that were at SkyWest convinced me otherwise,” said Eddie. “I am glad I made that decision! The last few months have been exciting and stressful, but ultimately rewarding. I have learned a lot and continue to learn every time I step onto the aircraft.”

Eddie’s fascination with airplanes began at age five. He continues to be fascinated by the wonder and science of flying and hopes to inspire others.

Recently, he had an experience that truly connected his love for aviation and Black History Month:

“I was eating my breakfast at SFO and I looked up to see a young, Black boy staring at me across the glass. He had his hands around his face and seemed to be very fascinated by my uniform. He smiled at me while pointing at the wings on my shirt and then proceeded to spread his arms like wings to mimic an airplane flying. I smiled back and told him he could be a pilot when he grows up.”

 

Chasing Flight Attendant Dreams

SkyWest Flight Attendant Diane Hansen had big dreams to become a stewardess in the 1960s. Unfortunately, she never reached the 5’2” standard that was required.

“I had a measuring tape attached to my doorframe and I would measure myself, but I never grew,” she said. As there were no exceptions to the rules, Diane decided she would never be a flight attendant. Thankfully this didn’t dampen her love for the aviation industry.

In fact, years after putting her dream to become a flight attendant on hold, Diane became involved in the volunteer Navigator Program at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport where she helps passengers as they are flying in and out. Through her volunteer efforts for the last 17 years, she has also encountered many flight attendants in the airport. Eventually she thought, “This is my dream. If I don’t try now, I’ll lose my chance.”

Diane thought no one would want to hire a 70-year-old flight attendant but after applying to several airlines she received an offer from both SkyWest and Frontier Airlines.

“It was an easy decision to go with SkyWest,” she said. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve been here for three years and I’m having more fun than I could possibly believe.”

“You can’t say that you can’t do something because you’re too old,” said Diane. Her inspiring story is a great example of following your dreams and we are so happy to have her on the SkyWest team! If you’re ready to follow your aviation dreams, visit 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.

SkyWest Flight Attendant Goes Above And Beyond, Unknowingly Goes Viral

During a flight from Oklahoma City to Houston, SkyWest Flight Attendant Antonio Cromwell didn’t think anything of it when he sat on the floor to assist a passenger sitting in first class.

Later that night, his phone started buzzing with texts and calls from family and friends telling him that he had gone viral.

“At first, I thought people were joking with me, then I had coworkers reaching out and I knew something was up,” said Antonio.

The Chicago-based flight attendant did indeed go viral when a passenger snapped a photo of him playing Pokémon with a young boy to keep him entertained on a flight.

“A father and son boarded the plane and they didn’t have seats together,” said Antonio. “The father asked if his son could sit at the front so that a flight attendant could watch over him during the flight. It wasn’t a big deal and I was happy to help.”

Before takeoff, Antonio introduced himself and talked with the boy to see what his entertainment plans were for the flight. The boy mentioned that he was looking forward to playing an online game against his cousin.

Knowing the boy would need to purchase internet to play his game online, Antonio asked him if he had anything else to play with that didn’t require an internet connection.

To Antonio’s surprise, the boy pulled out Pokémon cards and the rest was history.

“I was more excited than he was when he pulled out his Pokémon cards,” Antonio quipped. “When I was a kid, collecting Pokémon cards was a big deal and I didn’t realize that kids still did that. We talked about our collections and then I told him I would be back in a bit so that I could serve and help other passengers.”

After attending to other passengers, Antonio noticed the boy still wanted to play games online against his cousin. Without hesitation, Antonio went ahead and purchased the internet for him so that he could play.

“Seeing him having fun and playing with his cousin… that’s what it’s all about,” said Antonio. “I was just doing my job and didn’t think it was anything special. I always try to provide great customer service.”

“Antonio is a wonderful example of core4 and really even beyond that level of caring,” added Sarah Murphy, SVP of United Express. “Truly a bright star!”

At the end of the flight and as the family deplaned, the boy told Antonio that the next time they are on his route, he’ll be sure to bring him some Pokémon cards.

 “I’m going to hold him to it,” Antonio said laughing. “But honestly, it was great to make someone’s day and that’s why I love my job.”

The Chicago-based flight attendant is grateful for the opportunity to be a flight attendant and to follow in his aunt’s footsteps.

“I had an aunt who was a flight attendant for more than 30 years,” he said. “She would commute to Chicago and I would get to ride with her to and from the airport sometimes. When she finished her trips, she would tell me about her experiences, places she’s gone and the people she met. It sounded like the dream job and was something that I wanted to do.”

Coming up on his five-year work anniversary, Antonio is thankful he took a chance and followed his heart to become a flight attendant.

“I’m so blessed to have come to SkyWest,” he said. “It’s been amazing and the past five years have flown by. I’ve made so many friends and love interacting with passengers and having positive experiences. I’ve had a bunch of jobs over the years and being a flight attendant is the first time that I can truly say that I love going to work every day.”

When asked what advice he has for people thinking about an aviation career, Antonio replied: “Do it! It’s not your typical 9-5 job, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s a different lifestyle and I love it. My only regret is that I did not become a flight attendant sooner.”

Make an impact and join SkyWest’s amazing team today.