Who would’ve thought that a mother and daughter duo would fly a flight together?
Last weekend, Southwest Airlines Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt flew together for the first time, marking a historic and heartwarming moment for the carrier and for the mother-daughter pair.
A family affair
On 23 July, Southwest Airlines experienced its first-ever mother-daughter pilot duo.
The two experienced a weekend to remember when flying their first Southwest flight together.
The flight took off from Denver, where the two lived and where Keely grew up, to St. Louis. While Flight #3658 will be etched in the minds of Holly and Keely, Southwest too will remember the flight as a historic endeavour for the Dallas-based carrier.
Keely grew up around Southwest, largely familiar with the airline as her mother’s workplace. Aged 15, Keely and her siblings were able to experience a discovery flight. From that moment, she realised that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a pilot.
In 2017, Keely took on an internship at Southwest and the rest was history.
Holly started her aviation career as soon as her college education was over as a flight attendant. Soon after, she realised what she wanted to do most is fly. Holly trained, gained all her certifications and took flight lessons all while supporting her family. Eventually, she achieved her dream of being a pilot and chose to fly for her mother’s airline.
On Saturday, following her first flight with her daughter Keely, Holly was ecstatic:
“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.”
Southwest Airlines’ female pilots
As of 2020, it is assumed that Southwest Airlines had the most female pilots – 393 out of a suspected 8,500. That figure still only represented 4.07 of the total number of its pilots.
In 2021, the airline is thought to have had a total of 8,300 pilots flying for them. While it is unknown how many were female, the figure is likely slightly lower than 2020 to account for the drop in pilots overall.
The major U.S carriers is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, according to its site. While the carrier does take the time to detail its initiatives to attract individuals regardless of their racial, religion and sexual orientation, not much is said about attracting women to the profession.
With that being said, the North American airline did participate in the latest Women in Aviation International Conference and has done so regularly. Through testimonials on its website, female pilots for Southwest share their experiences with Southwest and being a part of Women in Aviation.
Elsewhere, earlier this week, Southwest was named one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in 2022 for the 5th consecutive year by Forbes.
Juan Suarez, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Southwest, said:
“Being named to this list is humbling and continues to motivate us to improve our diversity efforts across the Company and provide the best workplace for our Employees, which in turn helps us serve our Customers.”
What a story! What do you make of Holly and Keely’s first flight together? Here’s to many more. Comment below to share your thoughts.