During a recent flight from Salt Lake City to Burbank, California, SkyWest Flight Attendant Shannon Dilling Damota was just going about her duties and doing her best to provide excellent customer service during an unfortunate delay. She didn’t think anything of it when she was entertaining kids and passing out snacks.
But to the Kaye family, Shannon’s efforts to take care of them and other passengers was everything they needed after a long and stressful day. The family, including two seven year olds and a two-year-old toddler, started their trip in Idaho but were faced with several delays and flight changes due to some unexpected operational issues at their departing airport.
“It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said Mitch Kaye. “Luckily the day was saved thanks to the SkyWest crew, especially Shannon who went above and beyond for us.”
After landing in Salt Lake, the Kaye’s hurried to make their connecting flight to Burbank. Once onboard, the crew had to perform some troubleshooting due to the cabin lights flickering on and off, causing the aircraft to temporarily go dark. Shannon got out her flashlight and was busy keeping everyone entertained.
“When I heard their little girl say, ‘The monsters are coming,’ when the lights went off, I quickly grabbed my flashlight and started doing hand puppets to distract her. We also played peek-a-boo and I danced in the aisle like a fool to help calm everyone down. It worked, so it was worth it,” Shannon said laughing.
Shannon was also able to help the family move into their own row in the back of the aircraft, allowing their youngest to fall asleep on the late flight.
“Shannon went above and beyond for us and helped us get through our trip,” said Mitch. “Despite the delays and plane changes, she provided a great experience and made us appreciate flying. I work at a service department for a dealership and understand things like this happen from time to time and that things break down. For me, it’s how a team handles these situations that can set you apart from the competition and SkyWest was consistent and kept us updated throughout the day. We wouldn’t hesitate using SkyWest again.”
When Shannon received those kind words from the Kaye’s a few days later she couldn’t help but cry knowing her actions helped make a difference.
“They were happy tears,” Shannon said smiling. “It meant so much to me. I was just doing my job and honestly didn’t think anything of it. It just goes to show just how far kindness can go, especially in these chaotic times. You don’t know what someone else is going through and I just try to show kindness and help wherever I can. That’s what it’s all about!”
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.”
At SkyWest, we recognize, embrace and celebrate the differences that make each of our 14,000 aviation professionals unique. We are proud of our inclusive work environment and know we are stronger together because of our diversity.
This month, several employees from across the system submitted stories about their SkyWest journey and what Pride Month means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Wynn Gunter – Flight Attendant, PDX
Growing up in Mississippi, I found it hard being able to accept and appreciate the person I was behind my skin. I had no other friends growing up who were LGBTQ+. I felt alone a lot of the time and felt like I had to keep it a secret. I lived behind a lot of lies because I was ashamed. My mom had no idea that I was gay and I came out to her when I was 18 years old. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows from that point, as it was a challenge for my mom at first.
A couple of years later and I joined SkyWest at the ripe age of 22. I had no intention of becoming a flight attendant, however, working at SkyWest has been one of the best things that has happened to me. Before I came to SkyWest, I was working at a hotel near the Portland Airport (PDX). While there, I met SkyWest crews, including the fabulous Beverly Mendez who told me about the InFlight hiring events that were taking place. She told me, “I better see you there!” So, I found a cheap ticket to fly down to SJC for a hiring event and the rest was history.
Since joining SkyWest, I found a community that I felt like I was truly a part of and have met some of my best friends at the PDX base. I also met my partner of four years through the airlines. Since then we have traveled to Greece, Amsterdam, Belgium, New York City, and countless trips to theme parks across the country. We are huge rollercoaster nerds.
I feel like I owe a lot of who I am today to SkyWest. I finally felt like I found a community that I could be a part of where I could be comfortable with the person who I am regardless of my sexuality. The airline industry is a huge part of our lives now and we are forever grateful for the experience. Being part of a company where you feel recognized and supported for the person you are is a huge key to success. Happy Pride!
Stevie Russell – Flight Attendant, ORD
For Stevie Russell, a Chicago-based flight attendant, SkyWest was the perfect fit for her. Having wanted to be a flight attendant for quite some time, Stevie started researching different air carriers and quickly realized that she wanted to be at SkyWest.
“I did my research and found SkyWest to be very open, accepting, and an awesome place to work. It was a no-brainer for me and knew that SkyWest was the perfect fit for me. Immediately, I felt very welcomed and accepted.”
For Stevie, Pride Month holds a special place in her heart and is an opportunity to recognize and reflect on the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made difference.
“It’s a time to promote love, equality, self-affirmation, recognition and to educate,” she said. “I am able to be who I am today because they were brave enough to have fought and rallied before me.”
When asked what advice she has for those who want to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, Stevie asks that everyone has an open heart and mind and to research and ask questions to someone that you know is a part of the community.
“There are so many different sexual orientations out there; learning what you can about them really helps to understand the people within the community and what it really means to be an ally.”
Justin Shurtz – Maintenance Control, HDQ
My story at SkyWest begins in 2017. I had done corporate aviation until then but decided for a change. What I didn’t expect to find is a SkyWest family. No matter where I go and whenever I meet other SkyWest employees, it’s almost like we are instant friends.
As a gay mechanic, it’s not always easy. When I first started in Salt Lake (SLC), I was terrified about people finding out. But when the time came, I was surprised by what I had found. Everyone in SLC welcomed me with open arms. Fast forward to today, and I’m now in Maintenance Control.
I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. My partner and I have been on many amazing journeys that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The possibilities are endless. The professionalism and respect that I have found at SkyWest just can’t be put into words.
SkyWest may be one of the largest airlines in the world, but we definitely have that small company feeling. As I move forward with my career and with my flight training, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I’m excited to see what the future brings and super excited to be a part of the journey.
Michael Lanzaro Fisher – Flight Attendant, ORD
Growing up, Michael Lanzaro Fisher, a Chicago-based flight attendant, always felt he was different.
“I wasn’t sure how different I was until I was much older,” he said.
Michael describes coming out as gay was a relief that gave him a chance to refocus on his goals for the future. Reveling in his newfound clarity, he flew home to share the special time with his family. It was onboard the aircraft home he noticed the flight attendants’ kindness and professionalism.
“They had such poise and grace,” said Michael. “I admired how they seemed so happy while at work.”
From that point on, Michael felt like aviation was the place for him.
“I don’t know exactly what it was,” said Michael. “Aviation calls to people. It’s not something you just go and pick; it’s inside of you.”
Michael researched how to become a flight attendant and began applying for jobs. He applied for the flight attendant position at several airlines, including SkyWest. After a positive interview experience at SkyWest, he knew it was the place for him.
“I put all the other airlines on the back burner; I wanted to be at SkyWest,” said Michael.
Michael joined the SkyWest team as a flight attendant in 2018. After negative experiences at other jobs, he was nervous about how he would fit in with his coworkers. However, from the beginning, Michael says he was greeted with open arms.
“I’m forever grateful I’m a flight attendant at SkyWest,” said Michael. “My coworkers are very accepting. No one seems to care about your differences; they never put you down — they just treat you as a human being.”
Making an effort to embrace the differences of those around him and to model inclusive behavior with everyone he meets, Michael’s actions are mirrored by countless others at SkyWest thanks to a culture of respect and teamwork that has been built over the last 49 years.
In February 2021, Michael was promoted to lead flight instructor. It was not Michael’s plan to go for a promotion so quickly, but after encouragement from his co-workers, he decided to go for it and is enjoying his new role in Chicago. Michael hopes that in the future people won’t need to come out and that respect and inclusion will be commonplace everywhere. Until then, Michael is grateful for the way his SkyWest team has welcomed him.
SkyWest is proud of our diverse team. As part of Pride Month, we are sharing stories and experiences from some of our LGBTQ+ employees. Here is what Stevie Russell, a Chicago-based flight attendant had to say:
What does it mean to be part of the LGBTQ+ community?
One word that jumps to mind when I think about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is freedom. Freedom to just be unapologetically me and not hide. To be accepted, loved and understood for all that I am. Within our community, there’s no judgment or expectation to be anything other than our authentic selves. It never matters what part of the community you make up, including if you are an ally, you are always welcomed with loving and open arms.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride Month, to me, is a time to promote love, equality, self-affirmation, recognition and to educate. To show we are not ashamed of who we are and to try and end the stigma around the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for all the hardships of the ones before. I am able to be who I am today because they were brave enough to have fought and rallied before me. So, we honor them and ourselves to continue to love and educate everyone.
What has your experience been like at SkyWest?
I joined SkyWest this year as a flight attendant and was part of the first class that graduated in February. Immediately, I felt very welcomed and accepted. Everyone I have met, from instructors to pilots and other flight attendants, has been so helpful and kind. I have always been open about my sexual orientation and I am very happy to be at a company that is so open and accepting of people from all walks of life. Whenever talking to someone, and me being a lesbian comes up, they never falter or treat me any different, and I love that. I love the feeling of acceptance at SkyWest and all the people I’ve met.
Talk about your journey to SkyWest, your experiences and what inspired you to join the aviation industry.
Before starting at SkyWest, I worked for the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a city carrier. It was a nice job and I loved my coworkers. However, I have wanted to be a flight attendant for quite some time and even applied to a few carriers right before I got hired at USPS. At the time, I thought the post office was a better fit because it was close to home and it gave me the ability to help out my family. Towards the end of my career there, I was unhappy and really wanted to get out to see the world and meet new people from all walks of life. So, I applied to become a flight attendant.
Before coming to SkyWest, I did a lot of research on different carriers. I read about the company and learned how SkyWest came to be. I even looked up employee testimonies and found it to be a very open, accepting, and awesome place to work. It was a no-brainer for me after doing the research and knew that SkyWest was the perfect fit for me. One thing I really love about my job is getting to meet new people and make new friendships. I have met and heard so many amazing stories not only from my coworkers but from the passengers I talk to on my flights.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming part of the aviation industry?
Just do it. You won’t regret it! This is an amazing and ever-growing industry. You get to meet so many different people and see so many beautiful places. This is a career where going to work doesn’t actually feel like work.
What advice do you have for those who want to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community?
Don’t just have an open mind and heart, but research and ask questions to someone that you know is a part of the community. There are so many different sexual orientations out there; learning what you can about them really helps to understand the people within the community and what it really means to be an ally.
SkyWest is proud to have a global team with many cultures represented throughout our workforce. This month we celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Month by catching up with SkyWest team members across the system to share what their heritage means to them and how it plays a role at SkyWest and in their local communities. Here’s what they had to say:
April Keil – Crew Scheduler, HDQ
Since joining SkyWest nearly 20 years ago, April Keil has spent her aviation career working in Crew Support. She has been a vital part of the operation and despite working nearly two decades in her role, she has no plans of slowing down.
“I love it here. SkyWest is my home-away-from home and while 20 years sounds like a lot, it’s gone by fast,” she said. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
For April, who is both Samoan and Chinese, celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month is important to her because it’s an opportunity to recognize the contributions of those – both past and present – who have made a difference, and to share her heritage with her kids and all those around her.
“Family is everything in the Samoan culture and family is everyone. We believe it takes a village to raise a child and everyone helps out. During a trip back to Somoa, I had kids run up to me shouting ‘Auntie, Auntie, look what we found.’ They grew up with that mentality that anyone who is your elder is your aunt or uncle. A lot of the Polynesians who are younger than me in Crew Support also call me ‘Auntie.’ I got some strange looks from my boss before I explained everything,” April said laughing.
After moving from Samoa to the United States in 1996, April wanted to make sure her kids didn’t forget where they came from. After working at SkyWest, April made the most of her travel privileges by taking her family often to visit Samoa.
“We still have a bunch of extended family over in Samoa and it’s been wonderful and such a blessing to be able to visit them,” said April. “I love showing my kids around, getting them in touch with their roots and teaching them more about their heritage, culture and traditions.”
Wanting to share that with others back home, April and her family opened up a dance studio – Siva Pasefika or “Dance Pacific” – to share the Polynesian culture with the community.
“We started Siva Pasefika in 2006 and it’s been fun sharing and teaching the Polynesian ways,” said April. “My kids are a lot older now and they have taken the lead and it’s been a lot of fun to watch and to see the culture being carried on.”
In addition to the ability to travel and see family, April says the work/life balance, the comradery and friendships she’s made at SkyWest is what keeps her happily coming to work each day.
“SkyWest has been so good to me. It really is my second home,” she said. “I always look forward to coming in every day, even when some of my shifts start so early in the morning. I enjoy what I do and I have great coworkers who have become my lifelong friends.”
Anna and Piraya Supa – Flight Attendants, (PDX and BOI)
Traveling between the United States and Thailand each year to visit their extended family, Anna and Piraya Supa – both sisters and now SkyWest Flight Attendants – fell in love with aviation, traveling and experiencing the different customs and cultures throughout the world.
After the Supa family moved from Thailand to the United States, Anna’s dream of becoming a flight attendant became a reality. After applying for a position, Anna attended a group interview in Portland, Oregon (PDX) and started her training soon after.
After seeing her sister, Anna, have the time of her life at SkyWest, Piraya couldn’t wait to join in on the fun and was hired two years later.
Over the years, both Anna and Piraya have had the opportunity to work several trips together and enjoy visiting extended family in Thailand.
Click here to read more about Anna and Piraya’s experience.
Claudia Liu – CRJ First Officer, LAX
CRJ First Officer Claudia Liu did not follow the “typical” path to becoming a pilot. After working in the fashion industry for three years, she decided it was time for a change. Her mom suggested she apply for a pilot cadet program with Eva Air in Taiwan.
After applying, Claudia quickly realized how much she loved flying. She eventually moved to California to build up her flight hours and earned her CFI. Despite the big change, one thing that helped was the friends and supporters that Claudia met along the way, especially Michelle Lee. The two met in flight school and are both flying at SkyWest. The two flew their first trip together this past December in what was a memorable moment for both women.
Click here to read more about Claudia and her experiences.
Joel Larimer – Flight Attendant, SEA
After moving from Guam to the United States in 2003, Seattle (SEA) Flight Attendant Joel Larimer fulfilled his dream of becoming a flight attendant.
And for the past 16 years, Joel has been a fan favorite 35,000 feet in the air as he sings, dances and helps provide a great travel experience for passengers. Several frequent fliers have nicknamed him “jukebox” because he’s always singing on the plane.
For Joel, sharing his culture goes beyond just talking with passengers or making famous Chamorro food dishes for coworkers, it’s about informing, inspiring and helping to connect the world.
There are countless women at SkyWest Airlines who help to make us the best airline in the industry and who are helping to inspire future generations of female aviation professionals. In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked team members to share their thoughts about what the month means to them and their experience at SkyWest.
Ann Marie Nicholas – CRJ First Officer, MSP
Growing up, CRJ First Officer Ann Marie Nicholas was fascinated with planes and loved watching them fly overhead. During those moments, she hoped that someday she would have the opportunity to work in the aviation industry.
“I always thought about being a flight attendant and working in the back of the plane because I didn’t realize that women could be pilots and that it was something that I could do,” she said. “I flew with my family every year growing up, however, I never saw any female pilots on my flights.”
Eventually, she decided to chase her dreams and pursued a career as a pilot. During her first introductory flight in small, single-engine aircraft, Ann Marie wasn’t sure if they would even make it off the ground.
“I remember asking my flight instructor if this thing was going to be able to stay in the air,” she said jokingly. “But it was fun and I haven’t stopped flying since.”
From that moment on, she was hooked and Ann Marie hasn’t looked back.
“The aviation bug hit me pretty hard,” Ann Marie said. “After flying a bunch, I noticed that I would start to get restless when I wasn’t flying.”
Now, the veteran airline pilot is busy taking care of her family as well as flying across the SkyWest system that consists of nearly 2,000 daily flights to 236 cities across North America.
“I love working at SkyWest and my experience has been awesome,” Ann Marie said. “The saying ‘if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life’ is exactly how I feel about my job. I have great coworkers and the schedule and flexibility is great. With so many trips available, there’s really something for everyone.”
Knowing she works in a male-dominated industry, the Minneapolis native does all she can to give back and help inspire future female aviators. Whether it’s instructing or just giving tips and encouragement, the first officer is determined to change the narrative and misconceptions that only men are pilots.
“When I was doing an observation flight early in my career, I went to the gate agent so I could check-in and sit in the jump seat. And despite being fully dressed in my pilot uniform, the gate agent asked if I was a flight attendant. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe it,” Ann Marie recalled. “Fortunately, public perception is changing and I continue to see more female pilots every day.”
For those looking to enter the aviation industry as a pilot, Ann Marie had these words of advice:
“If you have a desire, go for it. Schedule an introductory flight and try it out. If you like it, don’t stop and don’t let anything get in your way. I took that step and it changed my life. I tell everyone that on the eve of my retirement, I want to say that I still love my job. And I know I can say that working at SkyWest.”
Lindsey Scott – ERJ First Officer, PDX
As a third-generation female pilot, SkyWest First Officer Lindsey Scott was born to fly.
As a child, Lindsey loved going to airshows and aviation events and frequently tagged along with her grandma, Mary Jean Barnes Sturdevant, who was often invited to speak at aviation events. It wasn’t until she was a little older that Lindsey understood why her grandma received so much attention for her flying.
Click here to read more about Lindsey and her inspiring grandma.
Nicole Crosby – Seattle Mechanic III
Nicole Crosby joined SkyWest in 2017 as an A&P mechanic and loves working on all kinds of aircraft to ensure every plane is in top condition for every flight. She enjoys the teamwork environment of SkyWest, including working with another female mechanic, while also being able to put her own stamp on her work.
“I was always the only woman mechanic at any one station at other companies, but now I have the privilege of working with another lady here in SEA,” said Nicole. “I think you’d be surprised by the number of female A&P’s that have been certified, worked on aircraft, but now use their skill sets in other positions here at SkyWest.”
Along with being an aircraft mechanic for over 20 years, Crosby has worked in Noise Abatement, as an FAA aviation safety counselor, as an airline and composites training facility maintenance Instructor, dispatcher, and homebuilt aircraft builder, among other positions. She’s repaired aircraft in general aviation and business aviation, from regionals to Boeing 767 aircraft.
Click here to read more about Nichole and her experiences.
Debby Thompson – Flight Attendant, MSP
It was a moment that Minneapolis (MSP) Flight Attendant Debby Thompson won’t soon forget.
After making her way to the gate to check-in, and then boarding the CRJ900 aircraft to work the last flight of the night, the nine-year veteran got a lovely surprise when she met her crewmembers working the flight from Minneapolis to Cedar Rapids, Iowa last month. Despite having worked thousands of flights in her career, that Saturday night flight was the first time that she can remember working with an all-female crew.
“It was fun and a proud moment for me,” said Debby. “I didn’t know beforehand it was going to be an all-female crew. Everyone was excited and it showed just how far women have come in the airline industry and that women can do anything they put their mind to.”
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.
SkyWest’s more than 4,000 flight attendants provide exceptional service and help to tens of thousands of passengers every day. They’re also well trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations, including unexpected medical problems.
“I went straight into what we needed to do, we ended up using quite a bit of [medical] equipment on the plane,” recalled Rachel.
Both Rachel and Sandy said this was the worst medical issue they have ever had on board, but trusting the training and the medical staff, made the difference.
“By re-iterating the policies and procedures in your mind, when an emergency occurs (as the one we experienced), our actions were calm and second nature,” said Sandy.
Prior to landing, the crew requested medical personnel meet the aircraft in Halifax and the passenger was transported immediately to the hospital. Doctors at the hospital identified that the passenger was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Her mother disclosed that they were shocked to learn their 13-year-old daughter has Type 1 diabetes. We are grateful to learn that she has since improved and been released from the hospital.
“The medical professionals on the aircraft were just incredible. They saved the young girl’s life. It was quite an experience to witness,” Said Sandy.
“Everyone was great, all the passengers on the plane were so understandable,” said Rachel. “They all could tell we had it under control and coordinated.”
We applaud our crewmembers service, compassion and professionalism in responding to this medical emergency and continuing to take care of all the other passengers on the flight. It’s a great example of the great work that SkyWest teams are doing across North America every day.
To learn more about becoming a part of SkyWest’s flight attendant team, click here.
SkyWest people are constantly looking for ways to provide outstanding service, even outside of their normal daily work responsibilities. Recently, customer Maurice Griffin was connecting to a SkyWest flight in Atlanta and experienced this hallmark service for himself after Maddie Dougherty, an Atlanta-based flight attendant supervisor, went out of her way to help him get to his flight. Mr. Griffin wrote the following heartwarming letter thanking Maddie for her extra care and compassion.
Dear Sir or Madam,
On May 16, 2018, I was in Atlanta making a change to SkyWest Airlines to fly to Charleston, Virginia, having left Miami on Delta earlier that day.
I am 75 years old and was hospitalized in Miami for 10 days. I encountered a young lady who helped me with such courtesy and helpfulness that I feel compelled to bring her to your attention. Her name is Maddie Dougherty. You have a special person in your employment! So helpful — I was very impressed. She even asked the flight attendant to keep an eye on me.
I hope you have the opportunity to tell Ms. Dougherty and the friendly onboard attendant that I sincerely appreciated their concern and I hold SkyWest Airlines in high esteem!
Sincerely, Maurice Griffin
Thank you, Maddie, for your care and kindness in helping Mr. Griffin and the countless other customers you help on a daily basis.