GoJet Flight Attendant is a Winner on The Price is Right

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GoJet Flight Attendant Betty Griggs is all smiles after her appearance on The Price is Right earlier this spring.

“Come on down!”  Those iconic words instantly bring to mind the wildly popular TV game show “The Price is Right” and the ecstatic reactions from contestants chosen from the audience to compete.  The show, which has been on television since the 1950s, features contestants competing to win cash and prizes by guessing the prices of different products.  GoJet flight attendant Betty Griggs is lifelong fan of The Price is Right, and had an unforgettable experience when she attended a taping of the show with her family this spring.

When Betty’s cousin offered to request free tickets to a taping of The Price Is Right, Betty was immediately on board – after all, she could easily travel to California using her employee travel benefits.  She just had one condition – her mom had to come, too.

“My mother is 92 years old, and isn’t able to travel as much as she used to,” she explained.  “But she’s been such a big Price Is Right fan for so long that I knew she would want to make the trip.”

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From top:  GoJet Flight Attendant Betty Griggs, Betty’s mother (also named Betty), and Betty’s cousin Joanne

When the trio arrived at the studio, Betty remembered a conversation she had with another flight attendant about the show.  “This flight attendant had been on The Price Is Right, and mentioned that the producer interviews each attendee as they walk in, observing their personality, demeanor, and how they interact with others,” she recalled.  This is where Betty’s instinctual people skills from being a flight attendant gave her a natural advantage. Out of over 200 attendees, Betty was one of the first selected to “come on down”!

A correct bid on a foosball table gave Betty the chance play the game “Flip-Flop” on stage with host Drew Carey.

“I had to match up prices to products,” Betty remarked, “and went with my gut after being unable to determine what the audience was trying to tell me. This was the right move, because the prices matched up, and I won the game!”

Betty then advanced to the Showcase Showdown, where she got the chance to spin the big wheel. Although she didn’t move on to the final Showcase, Betty walked away with a 3-D television and a set of living room furniture, in addition to the foosball table.  While she kept TV and the furniture for herself, Betty gave the foosball table to her son, Barry. “When I told him that it was his, he said that he had a space already picked out for it,” Betty laughs.

When the episode aired in early June, Betty held a themed watch party, where she held games and gave away prizes to her guests, just like The Price is Right. “None of them had seen the episode yet, so from all of their reactions I re-lived the excitement of being there,” she said.

Betty says that while being a contestant and a winner was a thrill, the best part of the trip was experiencing The Price Is Right with her mother.

“I knew it meant a lot to her, and we will always remember it.”

 

FedEx Pilot Credits GoJet Background with Career Success

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Former GoJet pilot Nick Bolander, after wrapping up his first trip as a FedEx First Officer

We love seeing our pilots achieve their career goals.  Nick Bolander began his airline career with GoJet in 2012, and upgraded to Captain just two years later.  Five years to the day after he was hired at GoJet, he was was offered a First Officer position at FedEx.  When he looks back over the past five years, Nick credits his experience at GoJet with getting him to where he is today.

When Nick began FedEx’s training program earlier this year, he discovered that GoJet’s training program had paved the way for his success.  He was pleasantly surprised to find that much of the material was familiar – it had been covered five years ago when he was a new hire at GoJet.

“There were some slight differences here and there, but a lot of it was similar to my new hire training at GoJet,” he remarked.  “GoJet’s training program really paid off down the road and ensured that I was comfortable later in my career.”

Nick also found that the five years he spent flying the CRJ700/900 provided an excellent foundation for learning to fly larger equipment.  “The CRJ is a good building block plane, and CRJ flying put me on solid footing to pick up on new systems,” he explained.  “While larger aircraft have more technological features, I was able grasp them quickly because the CRJ gave me a good understanding of aircraft operations and functionality.”

Nick further credits his career progression to opportunities at GoJet that extended far beyond the flight deck.  GoJet encourages pilots to make the most of their time with the airline by getting involved in other areas of the company.  In fact, When GoJet pilot recruiters interview applicants, they’re specifically looking for pilots who are going to come to GoJet and make a difference.  “We’re looking for pilots who are going to do more than just fly their shift, make their money, and go home,” pilot recruiter James Douvier explains. “We want to hire people who are going to be involved and engaged in the airline.”  Nick did just that during his time at GoJet, and played an important role in a variety of projects.

“Since day one,” he said, “there were always chances to get involved beyond being a line pilot. Everything I was able to do offered a new and different perspective into my career path, and helped prepare me for future training.”

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Captain Bolander during his last trip as a GoJet pilot

In addition to heading a Safety committee, Nick worked on behalf of the pilot’s union to help Scheduling and Dispatch ensure more efficient lines by testing software that rebuilt projected trips and restructured trip pairings.

“On top of being a pilot,” Nick explains, “this helped me better understand how an airline works, from both a Dispatch and Scheduling perspective.”

Nick now plans to fly for FedEx for the remainder of his career. “I’ll most likely be flying here until I retire or until I can’t fly anymore, whichever comes first,” he laughs.  However, even though he’s moved on, Nick is still close with his former colleagues.

“Whether they’re still there or have also moved on, the friendships I made at GoJet have stuck with me just as strongly as my training.”

Nick is just one of the many GoJet pilots who have gone on to fly for some of the top airlines in the world.  If you’re looking for an airline experience that’s going to give you the training and experience you need to achieve your career goals, drop our pilot recruiters a line at pilotjobs@gojetairlines.com.

Director of Maintenance Likens Camaraderie at GoJet to the Marine Corps

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Marine Corps Veteran and GoJet Director of Maintenance, Jeff Bast

When leaving the military, it’s common for Veterans to look for careers in the civilian world that will allow them to utilize the training they received in the armed forces.  For example, military pilots and aircraft mechanics often put their skills to work in the airline industry when their active duty responsibilities are complete.

Marine Corps Veteran and GoJet Director of Maintenance did just that.  Prior to his airline career, Jeff spent five years as an Avionics Technician in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he ensured that Maine Corps aircraft, including AV-8B Harrier jets, were mission capable.

When Jeff left active duty, he found that his avionics skills were very marketable in the civilian world.  He was recruited by a St. Louis-based regional airline, where he went on to spend over 15 years holding progressively responsible Tech Ops positions before joining GoJet as its new Director of Maintenance in early 2017.

With the exception of combat situations, Jeff says that the major difference between military and commercial aviation is the activity level of the aircraft that technicians work on.  “If you’re an Avionics Technician stationed at a military base, you’re primarily going to work on a fleet that’s grounded, but still needs to be ready to go at a moment’s notice,” he said.  “But an airline is a business, and every decision you make is hyper-focused on keeping aircraft in the air.”

Despite having an office at GoJet’s corporate headquarters, Jeff always looks for opportunities to get his hands dirty at the maintenance hangar.  “Who likes sitting in an office all day?” he laughed. “Plus, getting in the trenches gives me the opportunity to interact with our front line mechanics.”

Even though his active duty days are behind him, Jeff says that the camaraderie he has with his co-workers at GoJet reminds him of the relationships he had with his fellow soldiers in the Marines.

“I found a good group of people in the military,” Jeff recalls, “and it was the same when I joined GoJet. I love working with the people in this company, just like I loved working with the people in my squadron.”

GoJet Airlines is a proud supporter of our men and women in uniform.  We value military leadership, and are proud that many Veterans like Jeff have chosen GoJet for their civilian careers.

Captain Bob Layman Flies into Retirement with his Son in the Right Seat

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Captain Bob Layman and his son, Captain Nathan Layman, during Bob’s final trip before retirement.

When GoJet Captain Bob Layman put in his retirement paperwork, he had one final request for Crew Scheduling.  There was a certain pilot that he really wanted in the right seat for his last trip – his son, GoJet Captain Nathan Layman.  The two had flown together a few times before Nate upgraded to Captain, and Bob hoped to repeat the experience before he retired.

Bob knew that it would be tricky – the two were based in different domiciles, and the likelihood of two Captains from different domiciles being paired together on the same trip was virtually nil.  But Bob couldn’t imagine a better way to end his 121 career than flying with his son – could Crew Scheduling pull it off?

The answer was yes.  While Bob had hoped to fly a leg or two with his son to mark his retirement, Crew Scheduling, with the help of St. Louis Base Manager Nikki Lutz, gave Bob the best last trip he could have asked for – a four-day trip with his son.  The result was an unforgettable and emotional experience for both men.

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Captain Bob Layman poses with his last crew before retirement.

During the final flight of the trip, Bob told the passengers that there was something special about their flight, and that he had a story to share with them.  That story went something like this:

“I know those of you with kids understand what love at first site feels like. Back in February of 1980, I was blessed to hold a little bundle of joy in my arms right after he was born. In the year 2000, I was blessed again when I was able to train and recommend that same young lad for his private pilot’s license when he started his aviation career. Now, here I sit in the front of this airliner with my son, Nathan.

I was able to sit beside him as he started his career, and now we sit side by side as I close out my airline flying career. Bookends of sorts, to a season. We are so blessed GoJet allowed us to do this, and I’m even more blessed that Nathan allowed me to sit in the Captain’s seat for our entire four-day trip. It’s been a real honor.  Thank you for joining us.”

The trip meant a lot to Nathan, too.  “It was both a positive and emotional experience,” he said.  “It didn’t really sink in at first that maybe only one percent of pilots can share such a great memory as this.”

Both men were grateful to GoJet for giving them such a special opportunity.  “You’ve given us a memory that will not only never go away, but will never fade,” Bob said.  “The are no words capable of expressing the appreciation we have for what you allowed us to do.”  Nathan agreed, adding, “I will always be grateful to GoJet for orchestrating this opportunity that will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

Other than flying with his son, Bob says that GoJet’s environment of camaraderie is what he’ll remember the most about his time with the company.  “In the early days, GoJet felt like a small family,” he remarked.  “As it’s grown, it now feels more like an extended family.  The people who I’ve worked and flown with have made my time here really fun, and I will miss it.”

While sentimental about retirement, Bob couldn’t be happier about how his career ended.  “I am one of the most blessed people on the planet,” he exclaimed. “There are very few people who can say that they’ve been able to fly a plane with their own son.  I put this on the same level as my children’s births, weddings, and graduations – I couldn’t be a prouder father.”

GoJet Crew Bases Offer Something for Everyone

Wondering what there is to do in your new crew base?  We’ve got you covered.  From ski slopes in Colorado, to nature trails in Raleigh, our crew base cities offer something for everyone.  Here’s a sampling of some of the top things to do in each of our domiciles.

St. Louis, Missouri

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Your visit to St. Louis isn’t complete without a trip to the top of the famous Gateway Arch.

A sports town to its core, St. Louis is home to both professional baseball (the St. Louis Cardinals) and hockey (the St. Louis Blues).  Catch a game at Busch Stadium, or get a bird’s eye view of the action on the field from 360, the rooftop bar and restaurant atop the St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark.  While in St. Louis, a trip to the top of the iconic Gateway Arch is a must, as is a visit to Forest Park, named by Travel + Leisure as “one of America’s coolest city parks and one of the world’s most beautiful city parks.”

The Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center,  and the St. Louis Art Museum offer stimulating fun for all ages – and they’re all free!  Spend a day perusing the countless unique shops and restaurants in the Delmar Loop, or take in a live performance – venues including The Muny, The Fabulous Fox, and the Peabody Opera House are not to be missed.  And you can’t go wrong with a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

Chicago, Illinois

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Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs

Not far from St. Louis is another Midwestern gem, Chicago, Illinois. A sports hub, Chicago is home to two Major League Baseball teams, including the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, as well as to NHL, NFL, and NBA franchises.

With over 600 public parks, including local favorites Millennium Park and Grant Park, Chicago boasts plenty of avenues for outdoor recreation and entertainment. If you visit Grant Park between early May and mid-October, be sure to check out the water show at Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Evening shows are accompanied by a light and music display.

Michigan Avenue, or the “Magnificent Mile,” offers some of the best shopping in the country,  while the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and Shedd Aquarium all offer engaging educational fun.  After a century, Navy Pier continues to delight visitors with sights, sounds, tastes, and activities.  Navy Pier’s spectacular fireworks shows take place bi-weekly throughout the summer, and its famous Ferris wheel offers a view of the city like none other.

Denver, Colorado

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Red Rocks Amphitheater

The Mile High city has it all.  The famous Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater plays host to some of the world’s top musical acts, and offers an unforgettable live performance experience.  Captivating places to experience culture and history abound, including the United States Mint, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Nature and Science, and the Botanic Gardens.

Dine and shop at Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall, or take a tour of the Coors Brewery.  If you’re a sports fan, the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets and Denver Avalanche have got you covered.

With the Rocky Mountains in its backyard, it goes without saying that Denver is paradise for winter sports enthusiasts.  In addition to the action on the slopes, Denver is close to numerous national parks and historic sites.  Visit Rocky Mountain National Park and drive on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the world.

Detroit, Michigan

During your time in Detroit, be sure to pay homage to the Motor City’s stunning achievements in the automotive industry.  After you visit the birthplace of the Model T at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, watch the manufacturing process of a Ford F-150 truck from the elevated walkway overlooking the Dearborn Truck Plant’s final assembly line.

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Assembly Line at the Dearborn Truck Plant

Just as deeply rooted in Detroit’s history is music.  Launched in 1959, the Detroit-based Motown record label represented some of the most famous acts in music, including Marvin Gaye, Chubby Checker and Stevie Wonder.  Visit the Motown Museum, and stand in Studio A, where legends including the Supremes and the Temptations recorded some of their best-known hits. Spend some time exploring the District Detroit, 50 blocks of restaurants, bars and event destinations.  While you’re in the District, take in a show at one of Detroit’s many theatre venues, including the stunning Fox Theatre, as well as its smaller next door neighbor, City Theatre.

Sports fans can rest assured that Detroit’s MLB, NHL and NFL teams will quench their competitive thirst and spirit, while the Campus Martius Park and Detroit Princess Riverboat both offer unique outdoor outings.  And as if this all wasn’t enough, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Michigan Science Center will excite and stimulate your mind.

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Raleigh offers endless opportunities for lovers of the great outdoors.  The area is home to two state parks, including the Falls Lake State Recreation Area and William B. Umstead State Park, and both are both are prime locations for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking.  The Neuse River Trail caters to cyclists and hikers, and is the longest greenway trail in North Carolina.  Take in the view from its two  suspension bridges, and keep an eye out for beavers, cranes, and Great Blue Herons.

Museum buffs, be sure to visit the North Carolina Museum of History.  The Wright Brothers’ first flight took place in 1903 in nearby Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and the museum is home to a full-scale replica of the Wright Flyer.  The museum is also home to a cannon and other artifacts recovered from a shipwrecked pirate vessel, as well as to “The Story of North Carolina,” a permanent exhibit that traces 14,000 years of North Carolina history.  Young and old alike will also love the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Museum of Art, and Marbles Kids Museum.

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Raleigh’s City Market

Raleigh was named one of the top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South” by Southern Living magazine, and the local restaurant scene lives up to the hype.  With over 1,200 local restaurants, and options ranging from sushi to Middle Eastern, there’s sure to be something for everyone.  Be sure to try Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue (made with vinegar, salt, and red and black pepper) at one of the city’s many barbeque joints, and check out the diverse flavors of Historic City Market, an eclectic area of restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques.

Regardless of where you’re based, you’re certain to have a great time exploring your new domicile.  Each city is home to unique events and places, just waiting to be discovered.

Direct Entry Captain Program Provides Relief for Pilots Facing Long Upgrade Times at Other Regionals

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Direct Entry Captain Kyle Barret

At some regional airlines, it can take as long as 7 years to upgrade to Captain, even for pilots who are Captain-qualified. And until a regional pilot is a Captain, they can’t start accumulating Pilot in Command, or PIC time.

The Pilot in Command, or PIC, is the crew member ultimately held responsible for the safety of a flight.  The number of hours that pilots act in the role of Pilot in Command is called PIC time.  The more PIC time that a pilot has, the better their chances of being offered a position with a major carrier.

First Officers facing long upgrade times often find themselves in professional limbo, unable to accumulate the Pilot in Command, time that they need to move on, but understandably hesitant to start over with another regional, as it would require walking away from years of accrued seniority.

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Direct Entry Captain Zach Moore

Fortunately, GoJet’s Direct Entry Captain program provides a welcome solution for pilots caught between a rock and a hard place.  This program allows pilots who are Captain-qualified to join GoJet as a Captain, rather than a First Officer, and immediately start earning PIC time.  The program, which is the only of its kind in the country, provides relief for pilots who have been flying as First Officers for years with no upgrade in sight.

One such pilot is GoJet Direct Entry Captain Brad Meyer.  He flew as a First Officer at another airline for 8 years, before taking a three year hiatus from the industry.  He had no intention of returning to aviation, knowing that he’d have to start over again as a First Officer.  However, GoJet’s Direct Entry Captain program changed his mind.  “After flying as a First Officer for 8 years, I didn’t want to start over at that level,” he said.  “This program allowed me to start flying again, but this time as a Captain.”

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Direct Entry Captain Jason DuVernay

Direct Entry Captain Kyle Barrett agrees, remarking, “The Direct Entry Captain program has been perfect for my career.” Kyle, a former regional First Officer, left the regional world several years ago for corporate flying.  However, he decided to return to regional flying to gain additional 121 experience that would make him more marketable to a major carrier.  Given the depth of his experience, the Direct Entry Captain program made it possible for him to immediately start flying as a Captain, rather than starting over again as a First Officer.

One misconception about the program is that Direct Entry Captains “cut in line” ahead of First Officers already on property, thus increasing the time that it takes for those First Officers to upgrade.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Upgrade time is tied to seniority, and seniority is tied to a pilot’s start date.  A First Officer already on property will be higher on the seniority list than a new hire Direct Entry Captain.  When a First Officer upgrades, they immediately bypass all Captains junior to them on the seniority list, while a Direct Entry Captain will sit reserve if there are no lines available.

However, Direct Entry Captains get plenty of flying time.  Lines open up with attrition, and an average of 15-25 pilots leave GoJet each month to move on to major airlines and legacy carriers. Also, Direct Entry Captains can fly in both seats, which means that a Direct Entry Captain can cover a trip as a First Officer, while still getting paid as a Captain.

In addition to the benefits associated with accumulating PIC time, GoJet offers a host of other advantages that are very attractive to pilots. Direct Entry Captain Robert Brown likes GoJet’s competitive five year contract, while Direct Entry Captain Zach Moore likes the extra time at home afforded by long-call reserve.

Plus, GoJet’s small pilot group means that management takes a personal interest in each pilot’s success.  “I couldn’t believe it when the Director of Flight Ops and the Chief Pilot introduced themselves to my training class and shook everyone’s hand,” Robert Brown recalled.

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New hire pilots can expect a personal welcome from Director of Flight Operations Randy Bratcher (left), and Chief Pilot Brad Sargent (right).

Direct Entry Captain Jason DuVerny, who left corporate flying to be able to fly a more predictable schedule, has also been impressed with what he’s seen from GoJet’s management, as well as the training program.  “My simulator instructor really went out of his way to ensure that I was equipped for line flying,” he remarked.  “I feel very fortunate to have received such high-level training in this environment.”

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Total year one compensation for a Direct Entry Captain starts at just over $91,000 a year. Pilots with a current CL-65 or ERJ-170 type rating can earn in excess in $94,000 in total compensation during their first year.  And pilots who take advantage of GoJet’s longevity carryover program can earn even more.

To learn more about GoJet’s Direct Entry Captain program, or to apply online, please click here.

Hero Employee Saves Co-Worker’s Life – Twice

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Hero Stores Clerk, Ann Jones

Detroit Maintenance Manager Rio Publico and Detroit Lead Stores Clerk Ann Jones have worked together since 2011, and have always had a good rapport, both in and out of the office.  Last fall, the two were attending a group training session at GoJet’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, when the unthinkable happened.  While on a break, Ann and Rio were walking to a local grocery store, when Rio went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

“I don’t remember this,” Rio says, “but Ann told me that I stopped, told her to hold on, and then I collapsed.” Ann called 911, and the dispatcher told Ann that she would have to restart Rio’s heart while paramedics were en route.  “As soon as he said that, I started freaking out,” Ann remembers.  “Because it hadn’t dawned on me until that point that there was a possibility that he could die.  I’d received CPR training in the past, but had never had to use it.”

The dispatcher walked Ann through what to do, and Rio took a deep breath just before paramedics arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he regained consciousness over an hour later.  When he woke up, Ann was the first person that he asked for.

While Rio was in the hospital, Ann personally called Rio’s wife, Donna, to let her know what had happened.  “I know how unnerving it is to receive an unexpected phone call from a hospital,” Ann said.  “I wanted her to hear the news from a friendly voice.” Ann looked after Rio during his recovery, and still keeps an eye on his health.  “I made sure that he only ate healthy foods, and I still do to this day.  Donna only sends him healthy food for lunch, and I make sure that he eats it all.”

Both Rio and Donna consider Ann to be his guardian angel.  Incredibly, Rio’s heart attack in St. Louis was not the first time that Ann has saved his life.  A few years ago, Ann had to call 911 when Rio had a stroke at work.  “We were laughing and talking with our boss in the room,” Ann recalls, “when suddenly, Rio told me to call 911. At first, I thought that he was joking. Then he yelled at me to call, because he couldn’t feel his arm.”

“I started stuttering, my side started tingling, and my speech was slurring,” Rio adds.  “If Ann hadn’t been there both times, I may have sustained permanent, physical damage, or not even be alive today. She has been a real saving grace.”

Ann jokes that she is not ready for Rio to experience another medical emergency any time soon. “Both of these situations were very scary – I could use a break,” she laughs.