At nineteen years old, Marlon Dayes became a certified pilot, and now, at the age of 29, the Buff Bay, Portland, native has been promoted to the rank of captain at Delta Airlines.
Since the age of five, Dayes has dreamt of being a pilot and began flying for a commercial airliner in his early 20s. In a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer, Dayes expressed his excitement at spending his first Christmas flying as a captain, but the 29-year-old said he faced hardships on his journey and at times his dream felt impossible. He views the steps along his journey as preparation for the many responsibilities that come with flying a major aircraft and protecting his passengers.
“Instantly, I think of how best can I do my part to ensure friends and families are connected safely to their loved ones and how to keep all my crew members safe,” Dayes stated.
The captain’s family has been a major source of support during his career. Though his mother has not flown with him during his time at the Delta Airlines, Dayes said she is patiently waiting for an opportunity which he is looking forward to as well.
Dayes has worked with Delta for the past five years and is a firm believer in trusting the process. Preferring to take a big-picture approach when it comes to achieving his goals, Dayes takes it step-by-step, adjusting the big picture and timeline, but says he never planned to be a captain at this age. Though it was not planned, the young captain views the position as an honour.
“As captain, you set the tone and its your responsibility to bring out the best in the entire crew. If anything happens, everyone looks to you for answers or solutions,” Dayes explained.
Dayes lauded his crew members, whom he described as the best in the business. According to Dayes, the valued members of his team ensure passenger safety as they deliver quality customer service on each flight. With Christmas being one of the busiest travel seasons, Captain Dayes said it was fulfilling to take customers to see their families. Dayes expressed that it was hard to be away from his own family during the Yuletide season but said he was grateful to be able to do what he loves.
While reflecting on 2022, Dayes explained that the majority of his time was spent learning valuable skills from other captains, whom he viewed as role models. Captain Dayes noted that his biggest achievement for the year was learning to fly the Airbus A320 aircraft, on which he passed his captain’s training.
“One of the reasons that I was extra proud of this is because it’s a jet I didn’t fly as a first officer, so that meant I had to learn a new role as captain while learning a new jet. To be a major airline captain before 30 is rare, and I’m still surprised I was able to achieve this goal,” Captain Dayes stated.
Dayes was presented with his captain’s wings in October.
Watch the video and see the photo below: