Captain Suzy Garrett and Donna Garrett, their daughter, became the first mother-daughter tandem to fly a SkyWest Airlines commercial aircraft together in 2019.
When Donna was growing up, her mom working as an airline pilot didn’t seem strange to her. That’s because her dad had the same job, so flying an airplane seemed like a typical thing to do.
Donna even described it as the “boring job” her parents did when they went to work. As she grew up, she started to become more interested in their profession. She was moved by their passions and how they could travel the world.
Inspired by her parents’ love for flying, Donna decided to follow the same career path.
Fast forward to September 2019, Donna was in the cockpit as a pilot for SkyWest Airline Flight No. 1.
Donna and Suzy were celebrating 30 years of SkyWest when they teamed up, making it even more special.
Captaining airplanes runs in the family, as Suzy’s husband, Doug, and her son, Mark, are also pilots. Talk about a family that is high-flying!
“We absolutely love our jobs. You don’t see that too much in other occupations,” Suzy said. “None of our kids were thinking about becoming pilots, but when you start looking at other careers that are out there, like sitting in an office, and then see how happy we are – it opened their eyes.”
The photo of the pair smiling proudly in the cockpit went viral in 2020, and Suzy remembers the people’s reactions as one of the most heartwarming parts of the experience.
Suzy said she enjoys working with her daughter and thinks being a pilot is a great career for her as she likes having “variety and excitement” in her life.
“It’s neat having your kid experience what you’ve gotten to experience. She’s part of the SkyWest family,” the proud mom said.
The image of Donna and Suzy on a flight deck symbolises a happy moment in aviation, especially considering that many female pilots have difficulties navigating in a male-dominated field.
This isn’t the first time that Suzy made history, as she was also one of the first females hired by SkyWest. She had been with SkyWest since 1989, fulfilling her lifelong dream to be an aviator.
Suzy fell in love the sky after she flew from Arizona to Los Angeles with her eighth-grade class. As she gazed out of her cabin window, she was fascinated by the sunset.
She understood that a dream as big as that wouldn’t be easy to achieve, but she persevered.
Suzy, determined and determined, enrolled at Mount San Antonio College in California to study aviation in 1984. Before landing her first job at SkyWest, she was a flight instructor for several years.
Suzy said she didn’t experience any discrimination in the cockpit and felt she had access to the same opportunities as he male counterparts.
People who did not know much about aviation or commercial aircraft made any negative remarks.
“Outside of the profession, I’ve had to win over people,” she said.
Suzy has become used to seeing the look of surprise on people’s faces when they realize she’s the one who landed the commercial plane.
Suzy stated that the landscape has changed and that people are more used to seeing female pilots. With their viral photo, Suzy is most happy to have inspired young women into the industry.
Suzy shared that flying is a great career choice for women due to its flexibility in work schedules, which is perfect for those who are planning on starting a family.
“I could volunteer for field trips, parties at school and be that mom, while also having this wonderful career!” she said.
Donna, who recently became a captain, shares photos of her adventures from around the globe on her Instagram account, which has more than 39.6K followers.
***Did you enjoy our feel-good and positive story? Support our site by simply subscribing and sharing our stories to your friends.