Tag Archives: SkyWest Pilots

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all our SkyWest dads and to the fathers who encouraged us to follow our dreams! Here’s what a few SkyWest people had to say about the dads in their lives in honor of Father’s Day.

Kalley G., ERJ First Officer (MSP)

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I’m incredibly thankful to have you in my life and to enjoy our love for aviation together! I wouldn’t be the person I am today without both you and Mom! Sending love to you both!”

Tom T., Agt Ramp (SGU)

“My dad is still with us and l continue to learn from him. He is now a great-grandfather and is very involved with his family. I have fond memories of herding sheep with him as a kid. He taught me to work hard and to always have a positive attitude. I’ve rarely heard him complain. He is a great example to us!”

Wes T., Agt Ramp (SGU)

“My favorite trait of my dad is his ability to get along with absolutely everyone. You give him a few minutes with a stranger, and they will be friends in no time at all. He’s always been more on the laid-back side but still we always knew he was in charge; I feel like I have learned to teach my kids the life lessons they need in a similar type of way.

“We’ve also had a few adventures along the way. This photo was taken in Maui, Hawaii when I went with my parents to a work retreat. It was a long time ago but was a fun trip. Another time, my dad was out of town for work in Portland Oregon, and he called me to meet him at a great barbecue restaurant he stumbled upon. I had a couple of days off, so I was able join him. We drove to the restaurant and arrived at a little hole in the wall barbecue restaurant. As soon as we entered people were amazed to see that we found the place. I was wondering the same thing at the time, but the food was amazing, and we had a great time.”

Amber O., InFlight Support Center (SLC)

“I first met Keith in my earlier years at SkyWest when I was working on the ramp, and he was in maintenance. He was always fun to crack jokes with. Later, he married my mom, and he immediately loved all of us like we were his own. Keith, your love for my family is genuine, and I am so grateful for that. You are always there to lend a hand and share a good joke. I love going on our long walks and having our deep chats; they are truly the highlight of my day. Happy Father’s Day!”

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!”


Women in Aviation Who Have Led the Way

Today is International Women’s Day. The story of women in aviation is one of courage, perseverance, and boundless ambition. From the earliest aviators who broke barriers to the modern-day pioneers who continue to push the boundaries of possibility, women have made groundbreaking contributions at SkyWest and across the aviation industry.

Learn more about some of their impressive journeys:

First Female SkyWest Captain: Captain Mary C.

Captain Mary C. joined SkyWest in 1985 and dedicated 32 years of service to SkyWest.

She began her SkyWest journey during the SkyWest/SunAire merger after being rejected at other companies strictly because she was female.

“There were corporate jobs, and you knew you were being turned down because you were a female. They could actually tell you that back then,” said Captain Mary C.

First Female SkyWest Chief Pilot: Captain Laura G.

For Captain Laura G., joining the SkyWest team almost 19 years ago was the easiest decision she made, drawn by the culture of happiness and kindness she observed in crewmembers.

“To summarize my career at SkyWest in one word would be: gratitude,” Captain Laura G. said. “I have had someone at each of step of my career at SkyWest listening, encouraging, and giving me ideas how to navigate the storms and challenges we all face.”

Captain Laura highlighted the importance of perseverance and support in facing the challenges of juggling a personal life and a career in aviation. Her most trusted values are teamwork and mentorship.

Captain Laura G.’s advice to others: “Reach out to mentors, fellow aviators, chief pilots, aviation representatives, and network when you face a storm that could impact your career. Our paths around storms may look different, but the end goals of gorgeous smooth skies after best achieved when we are not alone.”

First SkyWest Flight Attendant: Randi H.

In 1986, Randi was hired as the first SkyWest flight attendant and was part of the first training class consisting of 25 flight attendants.

First Female SkyWest Mechanic: Bobbi S.

Bobbi was hired as one of the first female mechanics at SkyWest Airlines, her journey began nearly 35 years ago. She is currently based in Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) and is a lead inspector in maintenance.

First Female Pilot: Harriet Quimby
Harriet Quimby was the first licensed female pilot in America. Her inspiration came from a visit to an air show at Belmont Park in October 1910. She took flying lessons at the Moisant School of Aviation in Hempstead, Long Island before earning her pilot’s license on Aug. 1, 1911. 

First Flight Attendant: Ellen Church
In 1930, Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant, known then as a stewardess. Originally a nurse, Ellen convinced Steve Stimpson, a Boeing Air Transport traffic manager, that the presence of women nurses would help relieve the traveling public’s fear of flying. Previously, it was the co-pilot’s job to look after the passengers.

First Female Aircraft Mechanic: Phoebe Omlie
Phoebe Omlie was the first female recipient of an Airplane Mechanic’s License in 1927. She was also the first woman to receive a Transport Pilot’s License and the first woman government official in aviation, appointed by President Roosevelt as the special assistant for air intelligence of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the predecessor of NASA).

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.

SkyWest Santa Visits Honduras

CRJ Captain Zelaya Amaya grew up in Honduras and never experienced the traditional magic of Christmas. His family always celebrated the holidays with new clothes and fireworks, but with two brothers and four sisters, his parents had a lot of mouths to feed and Christmas presents weren’t in the budget. He always hoped that Santa Claus would stop by his house to drop off some presents, but it never happened.

At nine, and no longer believing in Santa, Captain Zelaya Amaya moved to the United States where he began a new life. He eventually became interested in aviation, enrolled in flight school, and joined SkyWest in 2021.

Over the years, Captain Zelaya Amaya has continued to think about his home country and how he could give back. In recent years, Honduras has faced numerous natural disasters, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and wiping out crops, infrastructure, and homes. Additionally, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the region with over 50% of the population living in poverty.

This year, Captain Zelaya Amaya had the idea to fulfill his childhood dream by bringing the Christmas spirit to the children who, just like him, had never experienced a visit from Santa.

“I wanted to help the kids forget what they’ve been through these past few years,” he said.

He started a GoFundMe to raise money for toys and other goodies. Then, dressed in a big red suit with a fluffy white beard and boxes of gifts, he flew to Honduras.

“I am very thankful for the job I have here at SkyWest,” Captain Zelaya Amaya said. “Without it, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

During his trip, Captain Zelaya Amaya says it was thrilling to hand out toys and food to the struggling community called Rio Blanquito. The children jumped around, beaming with joy and excitement as their dreams came true. Memorably, one child ran up to him, hugging and thanking him for his new toy car.

In total, he estimates that over 1,000 children received a toy. Additionally, 40 kids received a backpack filled with school supplies and 50 families received a bag of staple groceries.

Captain Zelaya Amaya plans to return to Honduras again next year, spreading the Christmas cheer to even more children.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month and SkyWest is proud to recognize our people and their varied backgrounds and cultures. Watch for stories throughout the month featuring some of our people, including Penny M., parts manager in South Bend, who is part of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, and DEN-based First Officer Maria M. who is part of the Leach Lake band of Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota.

Penny M. – SBN Parts Manager

For SkyWest Parts Manager Penny, being Native American is something that she is proud of and holds close to her heart. She is a member of the Lumbee tribe, made up of tribal nations from the Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Siouan language families, including the Hatteras, the Tuscarora, and the Cheraw. Recognized as Indian in 1885 by the State of North Carolina, the Lumbee continue working to educate others about their right to be federally recognized, a movement that Penny holds dear to her heart.

Growing up in Michigan and far from her tribe in North Carolina, Penny credits her father for the knowledge and appreciation she has for her heritage and culture.

“I have a lot of pride in my heritage,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in learning more about my culture since I was 11 years old, and my dad instilled in me a love of where I came from and who my tribe was. Just ask my family, I’m the go-to person for tribal information and family history.”

Before coming to SkyWest, Penny worked as a JCPenney corporate manager for 20 years. There she gained experience working with teams and helping showcase the value of recognizing diversity and fairness. In 2022, a family member convinced Penny to take a break from retirement and join the SkyWest team where she has seen how our diversity has helped us be successful.

“I’m grateful that SkyWest gives us opportunities to share our stories with each other,” she said. “It shows that we can have different backgrounds and share with each other the best parts of ourselves. I think this is why my team has been so great to work with and for me to lead. We all understand each other and have learned from each other’s stories.”

Penny is devoted to sharing her heritage with her family members too. She’s been able to fly with her grandchildren to attend powwows and cultural celebrations along the Lumbee River in North Carolina, where her tribe originated. She also visits local tribe festivals where she can connect with other Native Americans and learn more about their history.

Penny’s favorite part of this month, “Recognizing each other!”

“My native heritage has helped me immensely in my career and has brought my family closer,” said Penny. “I love being able to share that with others and to learn more from their stories. Not only does this recognition help us become more aware as humankind but it’s a freedom that we can all learn from.”

Maria M. – DEN First Officer

Denver-based CRJ First Officer Maria has always wanted to become an airline pilot. As she was training and flying with mentors, she learned about SkyWest and knew the airline is exactly what she was looking for. 

“What really piqued my interest was the culture of SkyWest that I had always heard about,” she said. “Whether it was the Pilot Pathway Program, an interview, or at my instructing job, people would mention SkyWest. They convinced me it was the best learning and working environment out there.”

Maria joined the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program in 2021 and she recently completed her first flight as a first officer.

“Once I got to my first day of training, I knew I had made the right choice,” she said. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful and I’m happy I made the decision to continue my career with SkyWest.”

Maria is proud to be celebrating her Native American heritage throughout the month and is excited for others to recognize and connect with her great culture. She is a member of the Leach Lake band of Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota, a tribe known for their preservation of heritage.

“It is important to recognize Native American Heritage Month because it makes people feel more comfortable and welcome, especially in their workplace,” she said. “Being able to share my story is so encouraging and ensures that representation for the culture and community stays alive.”

Maintaining her connection to her heritage is very important for Maria. She celebrates her culture by spending time with family, sharing experiences, and attending various traditional events. Maria’s advice for those wanting to recognize this month is to support indigenous artists!