Southwest Airlines’ 1st Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Heads To The Skies

Southwest Airlines now has commissioned its first mother-daughter pilot duo to the skies. Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt recently took to the skies, adding a new chapter to Southwest’s history books. The duo flew their first flight on July 23rd, from their hometown in Denver to St. Louis.

Holly Petitt said,

“It’s been a dream come true. First, I found this career and fell in love with it, and then that one of my kids fell into this and in love with this career too. It’s surreal.”

Let’s look at the Petitt family’s incredibly inspiring story.

Flight attendant to Captain

The mother, Holly Petitt, has been working in the aviation industry right after college. She started her career as a flight attendant for another carrier but soon realized she would instead fly the plane after spending some time in the cockpit jumpseat. Holly also took care of her three kids while going through flight school, thanks to the immense support from other members of her family.

SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY

Holly and Keely Petitt are the first mother-daughter duo in the history of Southwest Airlines. Photo: Southwest Airlines.

Holly got her first taste of Southwest Airlines when attending a Women in Aviation (WIA) International Conference. Impressed by the airline’s work culture, she applied for a position and passed the interview with flying colors. Holly has been with the airline for 18 years and describes her experience as “Eighteen years later and I’m still giddy to do my job.”

A lasting impression

Growing up, Keely had watched her mother work for Southwest and had naturally built a predilection towards the airline and aviation in general. The little avgeek was gifted a discovery flight by the airline when she was 14, which later led to a desire of becoming a pilot just like her mother. She landed an internship at Southwest’s Campus Reach Internship Program in fall 2017, making her official entry into the airline’s fold.

Keely completed her pilot training and obtained her Southwest Airlines wings in May earlier this year. The warmth she received from the Southwest Airlines staff when she was little has been a major driving force in her decision to join the airline.

Keely Petitt said,

“Southwest was always the end goal for me. There was really never any other option.”

The mother-daughter dup operated their first flight together on July 23rd. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Women in aviation

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt operated their first commercial flight together on July 23rd, from their hometown of Denver, Colorado, to St. Louis, Missouri. Southwest Airlines flight number 3658 operated from Denver International Airport (DEN) to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The percentage of women pilots in the US has been extremely poor in recent years, but the tide is turning. Several airlines are coming up with initiatives meant to inspire the next generation of women to explore careers in the aviation industry. Much work needs to be done to increase female participation in the aviation industry, but occasions like these are heartening to see.

Have you ever flown with any other interesting pilot pairings before? Please, share your experience in the comments.



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