Captain Lamont Tillery, First Officer D’Troy Pastor, and Flight Attendant Ashley Marroquin have a remarkable chemistry, the kind that forms when you truly enjoy the company of your coworkers. They are quick to laugh and tease one another, too, just like family. Together, the three of them are responsible for as many as 50 passengers every flight, 3-5 flights a day, 3 days a week. Lamont and D’Troy fly together even more, frequently “buddy bidding” for trips together.
“We fly with a 3-person crew, so you get to know one another well, Ashley said. “Lamont and I go back to the days of the Dash. This company has given me the greatest friends of my life. It’s one of the best things about CommutAir.”
So how did they all get here?
Lamont earned a BA in Business but really wanted to pursue flying. He went to ATP Flight School and built his hours.
He came to CommutAir (C5) at the recommendation of a friend. He wanted to be closer to his family in New York, but centrally located to go home to his friends in Houston. C5’s base in Dulles was the perfect midpoint. Close proximity and the company’s rapid growth confirmed he made the right decision.
He quickly built his hours and moved from First Officer into the left seat as Captain. Enrolled in United Airline’s Career Path Program – now known as Aviate –, he aspires to fly for a mainline one day and he knows C5 is the regional that will get him there.
For Lamont, there’s a lot to love about CommutAir. Like Ashely, he really enjoys who he works with and he appreciates the flexibility his seniority allows him. There are other perks, too.
“Pilots at CommutAir get a number of commuter rooms each month. It makes living in another town easier,” he said. Lamont lives in Texas, but his base is Dulles, Virginia. After time off, his first flights are often early in the morning. To ensure he’s well-rested, a commuter room (paid for by the company) allows him to stay in Dulles the night before. “It makes a huge difference. I don’t have to find a crash pad (like a dorm), or move, or pay extra to come to work.”
Like Lamont, Belize-native D’Troy Pastor came to CommutAir upon a recommendation from a mentor and friend. “My instructor [at C5] was actually the one who taught me how to fly five years ago. When he came to CommutAir, I wanted to follow him.”
“Recruiter Nancy is awesome. I was in Belize, sitting in my car outside a business with free WiFi and she conducted my interview via Skype. I got such a great vibe from her [and the team at HQ],” he said. “I had an offer just three hours later! That felt incredible!”
Due to C5’s rapid fleet growth, pilots are in demand. That was clear to D’Troy after his swift hire. “It’s a great time to join a company when it’s small and growing, because then you are part of all the exciting new stuff,” he said. “The last Dash was on its way out when I started, and now we have a fleet of all jets. I see definite progress being made in this company…and I like it!”
Bonding Like Family
D’Troy loves the friends he’s made at C5 and insisted that the crew can make or break a trip. “We each know what our job is, and we do it well. Look, flying is flying. But when you work well together, when you know they are professional and safe — you can really have fun.”
Airline life often requires crews to be away from their families and loved ones on holidays, but these three don’t mind.
“We’ve built our own families here, and we celebrate with them,” Ashley said. “It really is true, we’re family here. This career is what you make of it and we make it fun. We’ve made it a family.”
Before coming to CommutAir, Ashley worked retail. Her best friend suggested she become a Flight Attendant, and the decision changed her life.
“Being able to make a difference in the day of each passenger is my favorite,” she explained. “Traveling is stressful for passengers. There’s weather, cancellations, lines, delays… I know that it’s ambitious to try and change someone’s day. But the moment a passenger boards my aircraft, I try and make it the best part of their day. I want it to be fun and relaxing.”
Ashley can’t imagine life NOT as a Flight Attendant now. The position has helped her grow. “I’m more situationally aware of things now. As an FA, I have to anticipate the needs of others. It’s made me more empathetic, more patient. It’s helped me grow as a human being,” she said.
In between teasing one another during the layover, each member of the crew reiterated that they would pay it forward and recommend CommutAir, just as someone had recommend it to them.
“I tell people that CommutAir is a great place to dip your toes into the lifestyle, and learn about the aviation industry,” Ashley said. “And it’s where I’ve met friends for a lifetime.”
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CommutAir is in the process of growing its all-jet fleet of Embraer aircraft, and is actively hiring 400 pilots to fly them. CommutAir’s industry-leading benefits include:
- Sign-On Bonus: $50,000 for captain-eligible pilots (1,000 hours), $22,100 for First Officers
- A fast route to minority owner United Airlines through Aviate, formerly known as the Career Path Program (CPP)
- Guaranteed Captain Pay for First Officers after Year 1
- Top-Tier pay and benefits, including the industry’s first Commuter policy