Tag Archives: SkyWest

Women’s History Month: “My Grandma Inspired Me To Fly”

As part of Women’s History Month, PDX First Officer Lindsey Scott explains how she was inspired to become a pilot and reflects on her experience at SkyWest.

The saying “it runs in the family” certainly holds true for SkyWest pilot Lindsey Scott.

As a third generation female pilot in her family, Lindsey is grateful for her mom and grandma’s influence, bravery and example, which she credits for helping her get to where she is today.

Growing up, Lindsey always dreamed of being a pilot and loved going to airshows and aviation events. She frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my grandma was speaking at all these events,” Lindsey said. “For me, she was my nice, sweet grandma, but for many, she was a celebrity.”

It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.

“In 1944, my grandma stepped off of a bus in Sweetwater, Texas and embarked on an adventure that would have ripple effects for generations,” said Lindsey. “As a civilian, she joined an elite group of women who would serve as pilots for the United States Air Force during World War II. The WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) program was formed, and my grandma was part of the seventh class (44-W7), making her, and the women she flew with, the first women to be allowed to pilot aircraft for the United States military.”

More than 1,000 women were part of the WASP program. They went on to fly every type of aircraft the military had to offer, logging more than 60 million miles in the process. Some of the aircraft Mary flew were the T6 Texan and the BT-13. She was also an instructor who taught male pilots how to fly.

Fast forward more than a half-century later, Lindsey got the opportunity to fly in a T6 Texan over the east Texas landscape and reminisced about her grandma and other members of the WASP program who helped pave the way for future generations.

“As a teenager flying the T6 Texan, I can only imagine if my grandma thought about the opportunities she was creating and the paths she was blazing for the generations that followed, including me,” said Lindsey. “She’s an inspiration and the reason why I fly today!”

Lindsey started flying when she was 17 years old. When it was time to decide which regional airline she was going to join, she remembers visiting the SkyWest booth during an aviation conference and was blown away by what she saw.

“I was so impressed with how excited the pilot recruiters were about the company,” she said. “It was genuine excitement and I knew this was the place for me. After looking into the company some more, I didn’t realize just how big the company was and the number of flights, aircraft and bases they had. It was an easy choice for me and I’m so glad I picked SkyWest.”

After flying routes all over North America the past four years, Lindsey will begin training next month so that she can upgrade to captain and transition from the right seat to the left seat.

“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get going,” she said. “I know my grandma is going to be smiling down on me and I’m forever grateful for her example.”

While Lindsey never got to fly with her grandma, the two cherished a memorable moment in Washington D.C. as they attended the 2010 Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring every member of the WASP program.

“It’s the highest honor a civilian can receive from Congress,” said Lindsey. “They had events at the 9/11 Memorial, The Pentagon, etc. and each member of the WASP was treated like royalty, including personal military escorts, as well as private tours for sites in D.C.”

But the most memorable moment for Lindsey was seeing her grandma light up as Mary introduced her family to other WASP members.

“My grandma was so happy and so proud to introduce my mom and me to her friends as a third-generation pilot family,” Lindsey said. “I was so overwhelmed with how proud she was of me. To know that what I was doing was that important to her, it was the best feeling ever.”

Women’s History Month: “Coming Back To SkyWest Was An Easy Choice”

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, it was rare, but it was awesome 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 was a very empowering moment for me. I love working with all my coworkers, however, that moment really showed how far women have come in the airline industry.”

That moment was not only noticed by crewmembers, but passengers as well who commented on the all-female crew.

“It made people pause for a second because many of them haven’t seen that before,” said Debby. “Everyone was supportive and very complimentary, and it was a reminder that women can do anything they put their mind to. I’m very proud of our SkyWest pilots, especially our female pilots. While it’s still a male-dominated industry, I continue to see more females flying at SkyWest and I love it.”  

For Debby, working in the aviation industry, specifically as a flight attendant, is something that she has always wanted to do. Since she can remember, Debby has always been fascinated with flying and combined with her love to provide great customer service, working flights 35,000 feet in the air was a natural fit for her.

“The saying ‘choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is so true and I really feel that way working at SkyWest,” said Debby.

After starting her career in 2004, the nine-year veteran worked for a couple of years before taking a break to help raise her family.

“I came back in 2014 and everything has been great,” she said. “It was a good break to help me reset and to focus and take care of my family. I really enjoyed working as a flight attendant and my kids noticed that. When they got older, they were the ones who were encouraging me to come back and mentioned how happy I was working at SkyWest.”

After looking online to see where the next recruitment events were going to be, Debby saw that SkyWest was coming to MSP.

“I went to it, and the next thing I know I was in training and was back working as a flight attendant,” Debby recalled. “SkyWest is a great company and it was an easy choice for me to come back, especially with the full support from my family.” 

One of the highlights for Debby is having the opportunity each day to connect with passengers and crewmembers and making them feel loved and appreciated on each flight.

“People are traveling for a lot of different reasons and you don’t know what people are going through,” she said. “Each day I choose to wake up happy so that I can be a positive influence and to help assist or turn someone’s day around. That’s what gets me up every morning.”

Debby’s positivity, kindness and love to serve, comes from her upbringing and the opportunity her adopted parents gave her.

“I was born in Korea and was put up for adoption. A sweet family from California took me in and adopted me and I am so thankful to them,” said Debby. “They have given me so much opportunity and so much love. They are a family of giving and that’s just how I was raised. My family is a wonderful example to me and that’s why I try to pass that on and make a difference each day.”

When the global pandemic hit last year, the airline industry, like so many businesses throughout the world, was hit hard. Wanting to keep everyone’s spirits up, Debby started making goodie bags to hand out to SkyWest crewmembers, as well as other airline workers traveling to and from work.

With a thoughtful note, as well as chocolates or a rice crispy treat attached, Debby has been handing them out or leaving them behind on flights for her fellow crewmembers over the past year.

“Sharing is caring and I enjoy putting a smile on someone’s face,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about. One person can make a difference and small things can turn into big things.”

On top of that, Debby also recently started a sock drive to help local charities.

“Debby is always making the days of her passengers and fellow crewmembers brighter,” said Paul Caldwell, InFlight regional operations manager. “From creating goodie bags to starting a sock drive to help the less fortunate, I am so appreciative that she is always thinking of ways to make an impact on others. I can’t thank her enough for her care, compassion, and thoughtfulness for others, especially during this time that has been difficult for so many.”

No matter which of SkyWest’s 18 crew domiciles that she has worked out, Debby is grateful for the opportunity to come back to SkyWest — with its family-friendly culture — and to work with great coworkers each day.

“People ask me why I don’t go and work at major airline carriers and I tell people it’s because I love it here and that it really hasn’t crossed my mind,” she said. “The fact that so many people are still here that I worked with when I first started at SkyWest, really says a lot about the company.”    

SkyWest is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month and we look forward to highlighting more female team members like Debby who continually go above and beyond to make SkyWest the best airline in the industry.

Join us: SkyWest is excited to take part in the virtual Women in Aviation Conference, March 11-12, 2021. As one of the largest regional airlines in the world – with nearly 2,000 daily flights and more than 450 aircraft — our recruitment team looks forward to chatting with you and answering your questions. Click here to join us and to learn more about taking your career to new heights.

Black History Month: “My Experiences Have Been Nothing Short of Amazing”

SkyWest talks with one of our maintenance professionals who reflects on his aviation career and what Black History Month means to him.

Reggie Teague, an A&P professional at SkyWest, is coming up on his 20th anniversary and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. The Houston-based maintenance supervisor has worked across the country and throughout the SkyWest system working on advanced aircraft systems, troubleshooting and doing inspections to help keep SkyWest’s fleet running smoothly.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the veteran A&P mechanic says he is grateful for the opportunity it provides to recognize and reflect on the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made difference.

“I’m proud of my heritage and appreciate those who fought for equality and who helped pave the way before me,” Reggie said.” My parents are my role models. They didn’t have it easy and they worked hard to make sure I had what I needed to succeed in life. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.”

Those lessons and traits have shaped Reggie’s fun-loving personality and a big reason why he’s made a lasting impression on all those he meets, especially his coworkers.

For Reggie, SkyWest has always been his ‘home away from home’ and the company’s family-like environment has helped him feel included and supported from the moment he started. That camaraderie was on full display three years ago when Reggie broke both of his legs and was away from work for several months. The challenging time was quickly filled with love and support as current and former SkyWest employees kept checking up on him.

“I had people who I hadn’t worked with in years calling me and asking how I was doing,” he said. “A bunch of employees even donated their hours to help me. I’m forever grateful to them. And that’s what SkyWest is all about. We are a family and everyone has big hearts!”

While Reggie has had other opportunities at mainline carriers, he says the connection he shares with the company has made staying with the airline an easy choice.

“SkyWest has always stuck by my side and they gave me a chance when everyone else closed their door,” he said. “My experiences here have been nothing short of amazing. I have made strong lifetime bonds with people in the SkyWest family. These are just some of the reasons that I never think about leaving. It really has been a great blessing to work here and I look forward to many more years to come.”

From working on jets to turboprops, Reggie has done it all. And what makes Reggie’s story so intriguing is that it nearly didn’t happen.  

Before joining SkyWest in 2001, Reggie worked as a hotel manager in Houston, Texas. He recalls pilots and flight attendants checking into the hotel talking about their fun trips or upcoming vacations.

“I was jealous. The only perk I could get was a free hotel stay,” Reggie said jokingly. “Hearing them talk about their trips got me interested, but I didn’t want to be a pilot or a flight attendant. I’m a guy who loves to build things, take stuff apart and then put it all back together.”

After a friend told him about the option to be an aircraft mechanic, Reggie was sold.

“I looked into it with my mom; we did some research and I decided to do it,” he said. “I enrolled and successfully completed A&P school in 18 months, then started applying to a bunch of airlines.”

With interviews at regionals as well as major U.S. airlines, Reggie was just excited to get started. Then the unthinkable happened: 9/11.

“When 9/11 happened, airline recruiters were calling me and letting me know that they were going into a hiring freeze. I was crushed. I said to myself, ‘that’s it. I’m not getting hired,’” he recalls. “Then a little bit later that day, I received a phone call from SkyWest and at that point, I just figured I was going to get the same reply as I got from all the other airlines. But I was wrong. They surprised me and offered me a aircraft mechanic position in Salt Lake City. I told the hiring manager that all the other airlines called me that morning and told me they were on a hiring freeze. The hiring manager replied, ‘We know, but we really want you’ and that has always stuck with me.”

After accepting the offer and moving to Salt Lake City, Reggie became the first in his family to work in the aviation industry, completing the trifecta of his parents and grandparents working in the transportation sector.

“My dad worked on cars and my grandpa worked on trains. Since I work on planes now, our family has the whole transportation sector covered,” he said smiling.     

SkyWest is proud to celebrate Black History Month and appreciate the contributions of all those like Reggie who help make the airline the best in the industry.

Mother Son Flying

Mother and Son Take Flight Together

Family Flying Together“Mom, secure the cabin.”

Trenton Crull’s announcement from the flight deck was a moment a lifetime in the making and a thrill for both him and his mom.

“I’ve had the privilege to fly both my mom and dad while they were passengers on my flight before, but being able to work with my mom as the flight attendant was pretty special,” said Trenton. “Being able to say, ‘Mom secure the cabin’ just made it all that more meaningful.”

Trenton is a SkyWest CRJ captain based in Colorado Springs, Colorado (COS) and Melodee Crull is a flight attendant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), so the opportunity to work flight 4037 between Minneapolis and Bismarck, North Dakota together earlier this year was a rare treat.

“I told my passengers they were part of a very unique flight, as my son was one of the pilots and we were working our first flight together. ‘Mom, secure the cabin’ definitely brought laughter from the passengers,” said Melodee. “As I sat in the jumpseat upon takeoff, it was hard not to tear up thinking about my son flying the plane that I was working as a flight attendant. It’s not often that so many dreams come true in one day!”

Mother and son have crossed paths a few times since Trenton’s early days at SkyWest when he was stationed in Detroit, Michigan (DTW). Once Trenton moved to COS, their schedules got more difficult to coordinate.

“I have wanted to do this since I found out Trenton was joining me at SkyWest in November of 2017. Believe me, we’ve tried several times to get things to work out,” said Melodee.

“Luckily I had three weeks off waiting for my captain Initial Operating Experience and I found a trip to pick up in MSP,” added Trenton. “There was already a flight attendant on it, but my mom messaged her and worked it out to get on that trip.”

Melodee attributes her love of airplanes to her father, who worked at Cessna and Boeing in Wichita, Kansas when she was young. Being a flight attendant was always her dream, but for several years she filled her life with caring for a family. In 2017, the perfect opportunity came for Melodee to revive Mother and Son Flighther childhood dream and she interviewed with SkyWest.

“I love my crews. I have made so many great friends and anyone who has flown with me knows, I am a bit of a comedian and love to joke around and have fun. I also love interacting with my passengers! I have so much fun kidding around with them,” said Melodee. “I love that SkyWest has provided the opportunity to visit places I would otherwise never have got to visit.”

Her happiness at SkyWest influenced Trenton’s decision to come to SkyWest as well.

Melodee remembers her son aspired to be a pilot as early as the 2nd grade. A local pilot in the Crull’s hometown would take kids up on a flight as a reward for completing a school reading program every year and Trenton got to fly with him a few times.

“After that first flight I was hooked. I loved flying, but I didn’t know how to make it a career,” said Trenton. “It wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I started looking at how to pursue aviation as a career.”

Trenton completed flight training at the University of Central Missouri. He taught there for about a year after earning his certifications and then took a job flying private jets in St. Louis. When he earned the flight hours and experience to move to a regional airline, and with some urging from his mom, he applied at SkyWest.

“I remember texting him and saying, ‘YOU HAVE TO APPLY WITH SKYWEST! This company is amazing,’” recalled Melodee.

“She talked highly of SkyWest as a company and how fun the crews were and it was then that I started looking more in-depth at it,” said Trenton. “She was a big factor in my decision to come to SkyWest.”

“Trenton has recently finished his upgrade to captain and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Melodee. “He is a great person, with compassion for people and he truly loves his career, that’s what makes him a great pilot. I would be honored to fly with this captain any day.”

Thank you to all the moms like Melodee who inspire us to pursue our dreams in the aviation industry.

The Love Language of Flight!

A passion for the miracle of flight is one of the most common motivators for people joining the airline industry. And finding others who share that passion can lead to great relationships and, in some cases, even the love of their lives. This Valentine’s Day, we asked a few SkyWest couples to share how SkyWest helped them find each other.

Kelli Golden, air transportation supervisor, and Gage Wuthrich, dispatch supervisor, are preparing for their upcoming wedding next month. They initially met when they were assigned to the same shift and became friends. From there, the relationship quickly blossomed. 

“Gage was my dispatch trainer,” said Kelli. “So it was very natural for me to come up and talk with him and ask questions.” After being friends for a while they decided to start dating and of course, the rest is history.

Still, they kept their work and personal life separate for a while.

“Some of our co-workers didn’t know we were dating until they got our wedding invitation,” Gage said.

Kelli added that it’s great to share the same schedule, so they can sleep by 8 p.m. on the weekend — since they’re at work before the sun comes up. Of course, while they enjoy the camaraderie, sometimes they have to give each other space since they work just a few feet away from each other. At the same time, the couple noted that their shared understanding and passion for aviation has brought them closer together.

***

Dontay Riley, manager of flight attendant performance, met his fiancée Matt Frisbie when visiting Salt Lake City during a work trip. The two met during flight attendant training and the rest has been history. 

“We met when I was in Salt Lake City training SkyWest flight attendants. We really hit it off,” says Dontay.

Because he was traveling from Chicago to Salt Lake City often, Dontay and Matt were able to see each other regularly and their relationship grew. After dating for six years, the couple was engaged last March when Dontay proposed in Puerto Vallarta. The couple is excited to marry in the same city in late October!

***

CRJ Captain Timothy Grunden and Flight Attendant Phiola Grunden first met when they were assigned as crewmembers on the same flight. It was Phiola’s initial training day and Timothy was in the process of upgrading from first officer to captain. For dinner one night, Timothy told the rest of the crew he wanted to go out but no one else wanted to go. Timothy recalls, “Phiola must have felt sorry for me.”

They continued their separate journeys from there, but the two reconnected later after Phiola learned that Timothy had finished his upgrade via a mutual friend on Facebook. She reached out to congratulate him on the promotion, and a few Facebook messages later the couple was dating. Phiola and Timothy got married in July last year, after dating for two years and moving between domiciles to be closer together. They have since welcomed home a baby boy, whom the couple says is destined to work in the aviation industry.

***

Dispatcher Bryan Button, and Vanessa Button, crew scheduler, originally met in San Diego, but said working in the same building at SkyWest has brought them closer. When Bryan moved to St. George, Utah, he planned on flying back to San Diego to visit Vanessa every few weeks. But the distance was no match for this couple. Vanessa surprised him and, despite being away from each other for five months, the couple only went one weekend without seeing each other! After Vanessa finished her degree in San Diego, she moved to St. George to be closer to Bryan and joined the SkyWest family as a crew scheduler in 2018. The couple was married in October last year and have enjoyed the unlikely aviation pairing of a dispatcher and crew scheduler.

Bryan and Vanessa say their relationship helps them understand and learn more about what the different teams do and how they work together to make the airline work.

“It’s fun because I am asked dispatch questions from my team, and dispatch will come over to my desk and ask me scheduling questions,” said Vanessa.

The couple also mentioned that understanding the very specific “airline speak” makes it easy for them to talk about what happened at work and the other being able to immediately understand what their spouse means.

***

David Furlong and Randy Villanueva are both flight attendants in Chicago. They meet in 2005 in Sacramento, and after David told Randy about being a flight attendant, Randy quickly joined the SkyWest family. The couple was married in 2014 after being joined in a civil union since 2012. Randy said working with his partner is great because they know what each other needs.

“We had a medical emergency a few months ago and I just had to look at Randy and he knew exactly what I needed.” The couple said most of the time other crewmembers don’t know they are married, but love to work with them because they are such a great team.

***

Each couple had insight and advice to share for dating and marrying in the airline industry.

Bryan and Vanessa said the airline attracts a certain type of person who makes great friends and partners.

“We have the same friends, so even when Bryan is not at work, we go out with the same people,” Vanessa said.

David and Randy both agreed having boundaries is important to their relationship since the couple often finds themselves working on the same flight. “It’s great to work a plane with two galleys because it gives us that extra space,” the couple said jokingly.

Timothy and Phiola said communication is key. Whenever Timothy is traveling, he makes sure he texts Phiola as soon as he can after he lands.

“Skype and Facetime are great because for four days we have a long-distance relationship,” Timothy said.

Dontay said that they started to be more mindful of taking trips together. “We both take work trips often, so when we have the opportunity and our schedule allows we like to join each other on work trips,” she said.

Kelli and Gage, noted the importance of respecting each other’s space and enjoy having someone the can “talk shop” with. But their number one piece of advice was to be friends before you start to date. “You don’t need to rush into it,” said Gage.

All five couples said working together and speaking each other’s work-language has helped each couple grow closer together. Each couple also mentioned how supportive their coworkers are to their relationships and how SkyWest really is part of their extended family.

To the more than 14,000 SkyWest employees and many more who share a love for all things aviation: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bringing Military Experience to SkyWest

This Veterans Day, we salute all the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve our country in the armed forces. SkyWest Airlines is home to more than 1,600 veterans. Their experience and expertise help us deliver high-quality, reliable service on our more than 2,300 daily flights.

Maintenance Crew Lead Bryann Smith while in the United States Navy.

Bryann Smith, a maintenance crew lead working in Nashville, Tennessee (BNA), started at SkyWest after serving 15 years in the United States Navy as an aircraft structures mechanic and combat engineer. Choosing SkyWest was an easy decision for Bryann, who was looking for a company who cared about its employees and those they served.

“What brought me to SkyWest was a career with a company that honestly cares about its employees,” Bryann said. “We care about the safety of our aircraft and passengers more than anything else.”

Brandon Miller, a maintenance supervisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), was also drawn to SkyWest due to the airline’s reputation for taking care of its employees.

“I came to SkyWest because it was the most successful regional airline that respects and appreciates its employees,” said Brandon. “I wanted to be part of this great family atmosphere that SkyWest created!”

Maintenance Supervisor Brandon Miller in the cockpit of a KC-10A while in the United States Air Force.

Brandon served in the United States Air Force for four years as a maintenance hydraulic specialist. That experience taught him about decision making, integrity, reliability and being accountable for his actions – valuable qualities that help him in his daily responsibilities at SkyWest.

Augie Briseno, a maintenance trainer working in Palm Springs, California (PSP), also credits the training he received in the United States Navy for helping him to be successful during his 18 ½ years at SkyWest.

“I gained a lot of experience from the military as a collateral duty inspector, quality assurance representative and on-the-job training instructor,” added Augie. “These areas definitely played a huge role in my path and growth at SkyWest.”

“The military instilled leadership skills in me that I honestly don’t think I could have received anywhere else,” Bryann added. “I now help run a SkyWest hangar as a maintenance crew lead. The military taught me to prioritize and how to be ready for any situation that may arise.”

Maintenance Trainer Augie Briseno (far left) while serving in United States Navy.

SkyWest is proud of the service that employees like Bryann, Brandon, Augie and many more have provided during their time in the military and is glad they are a part of the team.

“I am tremendously blessed to have been with the SkyWest family for this length of time!” said Augie.

Learn more about all of the opportunities SkyWest has available for veterans transitioning to civilian careers and apply today on our Careers Page.

Watertown Veteran Honor Flight

SkyWest Teams Serving Those Who Have Served

SkyWest teams provide impeccable service to hundreds of thousands of passengers every month, including veterans and active members of the military. This has provided a variety of opportunities to recognize them for their service and has sparked some unforgettable friendships. Here are just a few recent examples.

Navy SEAL Reunion

The following is from Marianne Seibert who was traveling with her husband on SkyWest-operated flights from Kansas City, Missouri (MCI) to San Diego, California (SAN).

We were traveling to San Diego for my husband’s Navy SEAL reunion. Once on board, we couldn’t believe how friendly and helpful the flight attendants, Grace Pakiser and Sandra Robb, were. They never sat down and were constantly checking on the needs of the passengers and having conversations with them. When it came our turn to tell the flight attendant about our travel plans, we told her about my husband being a Navy SEAL, how he graduated from SEAL Training in 1969 in SAN and that we were traveling back for his 50-year reunion. We weren’t sure if we would make it to the reunion because of my husband’s health problems, so we were very excited.

Later, we were exiting the plane and I thought my husband was right behind me. I turned around to see he was still in the aircraft talking to the pilot. The flight attendant had told the captain, Zack Brown, about our trip and he told my husband he lived near the reunion celebration. My husband invited him to attend but I thought there was no way he really would.

Zack came to the reunion! He was so engaging, likable and wonderful. He stayed with us for three hours and by the time he left, we invited him to our ranch this fall to help gather cattle. We made a real friend in Zack. I asked if he would be our pilot on the way back and he said he wasn’t sure, but he’d make sure we were taken care of.

We were the first to board the plane on our way home Monday. When we got on, the flight attendants, Stacy Gobert and Erin Galbraith, were expecting us. Zack had emailed them and told them to take good care of us. As the plane was taxiing, Stacy made an announcement that we were onboard, honoring us and congratulating John for his service and his 50th year SEAL team graduation celebration. After the clapping was over, and as we took off, a military band rendition of Anchors Away was played over the intercom. My husband and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.

I wasn’t surprised about the great service we had on the flight back because of how excellent it was on the way there. Whenever I have a chance, I’m going to fly SkyWest.

Pilot with Navy SEAL

Honor Flight

In late September, SkyWest had the opportunity to welcome 35 Vietnam veterans and their family members onboard a new flight from Watertown, South Dakota (ATY) to Chicago (ORD) as they were making their way to Washington, D.C. Teams on the ground and in the flight deck did a great job making it a memorable trip, including red carpet treatment from the ATY airport operations agents and special announcements made by the flight crew.

The veterans were heading to the capitol in honor of their service and to visit monuments in the area. The special group consisted of veterans from South Dakota and Minnesota and, for many of them, it was their first flight since returning from the war.

Watertown Honor Flight

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest has been recognized by Utah Governor Gary Herbert as a Patriot Partner. The recognition is thanks to the work being done to extend priority considerations and enhanced hiring opportunities for the men and women of the armed forces. SkyWest is a proud military employer and is home to more than 1,600 men and women who have or are currently serving in the military.

Utah Patriot Partner

SkyWest team members do a great job every day to provide exceptional service and to recognize the men and women of our armed forces. Click here to learn more about how you can get started with our incredible team.

SkyWest pilot Ralf Socher on Denali

SkyWest First Officer Reaches 20,000 Feet, Without a Plane

When he’s not climbing to 35,000 feet as a pilot, SkyWest CRJ First Officer Ralf Socher is climbing mountains nearly as high!

This past year, Socher had the chance to traverse and summit Denali. At 20,310 feet, Denali is the highest peak in North America. This height and it’s location near the Arctic Circle make the mountain prone to extreme weather. Reaching the summit requires discipline, strength and focus; skills that Socher has developed through practice and his experience as a pilot.

SkyWest pilot Ralf Socher on Denali

“Mountaineering, particularly on high, remote peaks like Denali, can be compared to flying in regards to the need for situational awareness and planning,” said Socher. “As with flying, always having an alternate plan in mind in case something changes or goes wrong is critical.”

Socher’s first experience with mountain climbing took place in the Alps when he was 16, but it wasn’t until he was a new hire with SkyWest, based out of Fresno, California (FAT), that mountain climbing became a regular activity.

“As a pilot at SkyWest I appreciate the schedule flexibility that allows me time to go climbing and train for big expeditions like Denali…and with Fresno’s close proximity to Yosemite, I took the opportunity to expand my technical skills often.”

Scaling Denali took Socher and his group 14 days. Along the way he encountered numbingly cold conditions and an exhaustion he had never experienced before. Relying on his training, he was able to overcome the challenges to reach the top.

“In the thin atmosphere, where the sky overhead became midnight blue, I hardly noticed my deep rhythmic breathing. I was focused and feeling light afoot. Excitement hit me as we negotiated a stretch of deep snow along a precarious narrow ridge before joyously striding to the top of North America!”

SkyWest is proud to have so many incredible team members like Ralf Socher who provide exceptional service to millions of passengers each year, while still pursuing their dreams. At SkyWest, there’s no telling just how high you can climb!

Learn more about SkyWest and career opportunities available to you here.

Father’s Day: Following in Dad’s Footsteps

Brayden and Lynn Bell

For many pilots, having the opportunity to be at the controls of an aircraft with their dad is a far-fetched dream.

At SkyWest Airlines, those dreams are a reality for generations of family pilots who work at the company and at times, even fly together.

“It has been the highlight of my career to be able to work next to my son,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Michael Jense. “Chris and I have been blessed to fly numerous trips together and it has been great to be able to hang out on the overnight trips too.”

Whether it was spending time working at his grandfather’s aircraft maintenance shop, taking family trips thanks to the travel benefits, or seeing the joy on his dad’s face because he was doing what he loved, Chris fell in love with aviation and is thankful for his dad’s help and guidance as he began taking flying lessons when he was 16 years old.

Michael Jense (CA, CRJ) and Chris Jense (CA, CRJ)

“My dad has helped me out so much and I’ve enjoyed being able to fly different trips with him,” said SkyWest CRJ Captain Chris Jense. “Coming to SkyWest was an easy decision for me because of the company’s exceptional reputation and the opportunities it gives its employees.”

For Chris, flying was in his blood as a fourth-generation pilot.

Dave Bechtold (CA, CRJ) and Dylan Bechtold (CA, CRJ)

“The poor kid never had a chance,” Michael laughs. “But honestly it’s great to see him doing what he loves.”

That passion, combined with SkyWest’s values, continues to drive the airline’s close-knit family culture even as it has grown to become the world’s largest regional airline with nearly 14,000 aviation professionals operating more than 2,500 daily flights.

Captain Dylan Bechtold got an early start at SkyWest thanks to his father, CRJ Captain Dave Bechtold, who has more than three decades of experience at SkyWest.

“I grew up in the SkyWest training department and know most of the senior pilots,” said Dylan. “Because of that, I knew firsthand the culture and commitment the company has in its employees, and with my parents and my aunt working at SkyWest, it was an easy choice for me to join the team.”

Together they have taken a number of trips in what Dave calls “an unforgettable experience.”

“To be in the cockpit and flying together was a proud moment,” said Dave.

For ERJ Captain Marshall Rub and his son Captain Jeffrey Rub, the opportunity to work alongside each other is one of the reasons why they don’t want to go anywhere else.

Marshall Rub (CA, ERJ) and Jeffrey Rub (CA, ERJ)

“I was Jeff’s instructor when he first started to fly and the rest has been history,” said Marshall.

For CRJ Captain Garry Poulton, working at SkyWest quickly became his goal as he began working as a flight instructor in Reno, Nevada.

“I had heard a lot of good things about SkyWest and it’s been more than I could have ever imagined,” said Captain Poulton. “The camaraderie among crewmembers, the family culture, the opportunities, including flying with my son (Denton Poulton), have all been so great.”

So far, the father and son pilots have flown twice together.

“When I got into aviation I never thought much about my children wanting to follow in my footsteps,” said Captain Garry Poulton. “I have seen, in the past, other pilots who had flown with their children and seen the smile on their faces. I know what those feelings of pride and accomplishment are like now.”

For Denton, being a pilot was always his dream as he watched his father leave for work in his uniform.

“My dad was my ultimate role model,” he said. “Where kids wanted to grow up to be professional athletes, Hollywood stars or the next President of the United States, I wanted to grow up to be like my Dad.”

Garry Poulton (CA, CRJ) and Denton Poulton (FO, CRJ)

A similarly unforgettable experience occurred last year for Brent Wilson, a SkyWest pilot and manager of aircraft operations, along with his son Michael, a first officer. They had the chance to operate their first flight together as they took delivery of one of the company’s newest E175 aircraft at the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.

“It was an amazing experience and such a great moment for me and our family,” said Michael. “It’s something we’ll never forget.”

These examples and experiences are just a few of the many pilots, flight attendants, maintenance professionals, customer service agents and more who have had the unique opportunity of working together with their family at SkyWest.

Happy Father’s Day to all our SkyWest Fathers teaching their children to soar! To learn more about becoming a part of the SkyWest family, go to skywest.com.