Featured Crew

Captain Peyton Arata


Peyton joined CommuteAir as a First Officer straight out of flight school with her sights set on a United Flight Deck. Two years later Captain Peyton Arata is heading to United as a member of the United Aviate programRead on to hear Peyton reflect on her time flying with CommuteAir and click here to read her Featured Crew article from when she was a First Officer!

Thanks for sitting down and sharing an update on your journey!

I like the idea of looking back at my time at CommuteAir because I’ve had a really awesome experience here. I’ve loved it and I’m super excited to go to United, but I’ll look back at my C5 days and I know there are parts that I’m going to miss.

I remember back when it was time for me to apply to a regional, I called the Talent Acquisition Team at CommuteAir and asked if it was a good time to apply (summer of 2021). Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get to mainline until October of this year when I turned 23. My main goal flying for a regional was to fly as much as possible. I remember saying, “I don’t care about airplanes. I don’t care about bases. I don’t care about pay…I just want to be able to fly as much as I can to meet the Aviate requirements to transition to United around my birthday in October of 2023.” I interviewed in July of 2021 and my onboarding class began in October of 2021. Flash forward two years later and here I am, right on time!

What has helped you during your journey from First Officer to Captain?

For me, what’s really helped me continue moving forward is I try to set smaller, intermittent goals I could achieve on my way to the big goal (United Airlines). As a Flight Instructor, I wanted to be at a regional airline when I turned 21, and that really drove my desire & work ethic in that stage of my career. Once I was at CommuteAir, I knew I had to fly as much as I could as soon as I hit the line to hit my flight hour requirement by September of 2023, so I did everything extra that I could to hit 100 hours month after month. This would allow me to upgrade in September, take my Captain PC on my birthday, and officially meet my Aviate requirements as soon as possible after I turned 23.

What was your favorite part about being at CommuteAir? 

Honestly the people.  Just about every crew that I’ve flown with was more than just supportive, but fun too!  You don’t always visit the most exotic destinations as a regional carrier, but we always found ways to have fun and enjoy the ride, and that makes a big difference in the overall experience.  

I remember a trip with one of my favorite crews where we had some extra time in our schedule to see some local sights.  We were on a long overnight in CHO, and I’m a big history nerd. I realized we weren’t far from Monticello and suggested we go check it out for an adventure and the crew was down! so we got a cab and saw the sights. THe next day, we were headed to Montreal and were able to do the same thing again and see some sights in Canada.  It’s amazing to have a career where I have these opportunities that may seem a little crazy when you try it at first, but it ends up being super fun and spontaneous! 

What’s been your favorite thing about flying the E145? 

It’s so fun to fly.  I love that it’s not as automated as some other jets out there.  I think that’s done a really good job of teaching me how to become a great jet pilot, since I still have to put my ‘Pilot’ hat on and actually hand-fly the jet. You have to really stay ahead of the airplane and plan, and I feel that situational awareness has really fostered my airmanship.  If I started out relying on auto-throttles and V-NAV I don’t think that I would have the understanding and the ability to fly jets as well as I do now. 

What jet do you dream of flying at United?  

My dream would be the 756 757/767 fleet right off the bat. I love that airplane. I love how United flies it. If Mr. Scott Kirby came to me and said, “You can have whatever you want,” I would say, ‘Give me the 756 out of Newark! Let’s go!’ I love how versatile it is with its route network: On the East Coast, you can go to Europe and out of the more central hubs, (Houston, Denver, Chicago), you do a little bit of everything. It goes to Europe, South America, the West Coast…and Hawaii. Good airplane and good flying! If I get bored of going to Europe, I can switch bases to Houston and maybe do more South America flying or go to Chicago and do some hub-to-hub stuff. There’s a lot of variety! 

What advice would you share based on your experiences as a Captain? 

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Especially for the new Captains that are reading this.  As the commanding officer, I’m required to make critical decisions in a timely manner for the safety of the passengers and crew. This isn’t a job I got lightly. It required years of effort and thousands of hours of experience to be here. Work hard to learn the correct way to do things on the way to the left seat, and then have the confidence in yourself to know that when the time comes, you GOT THIS!