Southwest Mother & Daughter Pilot Duo Take Flight

Southwest Mother & Daughter Pilot Duo Take Flight

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In the United States, only 5% of airline pilots are female. Even more jarring is that just over 1% of airline captains are female. Given that statistic, I’d say this is a pretty awesome story.

Southwest’s mother & daughter pilot duo

On Saturday, July 23, 2022, Southwest Airlines had a mother and daughter duo pilot a flight for the first time in the carrier’s 50 year history. Specifically, captain Holly Petitt and first officer Keely Petitt operated flight 3658 from Denver (DEN) to St. Louis (STL) together.

As Holly describes this flight:

“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.” 

We’ve seen airlines highlight stories like this between fathers and sons, but this story is special on a different level. Below you can see some pictures from their memorable flight.

Southwest Airlines mother & daughter pilot duo
Southwest Airlines mother & daughter pilot duo

How did this all happen?

The backstory of this is just as cool as the flight as such. The mother, Holly, had started her career as a flight attendant after graduating college. After riding in the flight deck jumpseat, she decided that she wanted to learn to fly.

She eventually traded in being a flight attendant for being a full-time mom, as she had three kids. However, while doing that, she also started pursuing her dream of becoming a pilot, with the support of her family.

Holly got interested in Southwest Airlines while attending a Women in Aviation International (WAI) conference. She applied for a scholarship sponsored by Southwest Airlines, and ended up passing the interview. 18 years later, she’s still at the airline.

Holly’s daughter, Keely, also grew up around Southwest Airlines, given that she sometimes traveled with her mom. At the age of 14, Keely and her siblings received the gift of a discovery flight, and at that point Keely realized she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps and become a pilot.

Keely then earned her pilot’s license, and landed an internship at Southwest in the fall of 2017. Then in mid-2019 she finally became an airline pilot — for nearly three years she worked as a pilot at regional airline Horizon Air, until earlier this summer, when she landed her dream job with Southwest Airlines. How cool to have landed a job at one of the “major” carriers in your mid-20s!

Bottom line

For the first time in Southwest Airlines’ history, a mother and daughter piloted a flight together, which I’d say is a pretty awesome milestone. We’ve seen similar stories with fathers and sons, but given the percentage of female pilots, this flight is worth a story, in my opinion.

Here’s to many more great flights together for Holly and Keely!

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  1. John Shearson Guest

    I guess I'm a little old school and want a seasoned veteran in the cockpit. They don't fill me with a lot of confidence.

  2. Anita McKinney Guest

    This is so awesome !!! Go ladies

  3. Eskimo Guest

    I've always believe having a close family member flying commercial planes together is a potential CRM problem, especially if one has some authority over another like parent-children.

  4. Roxanne Guest

    I've met this pilot before and I was offended when she suggested l become a flight attendant instead of a pilot. Guess you have to be related to be respected.

    1. Don Kedick Guest

      Who said flight attendants are not respected? It’s a different role. It’s more customer facing, which may mean, the pilot was complimenting you on your outward demeanor that is friendly to customers.

    2. sacrxy New Member

      While I agree with your opinion, I must say it’s a minority view to the public. It definitely is not the case with the airlines just by comparing the difference in pay.

  5. Sam Guest

    Super cool. Some 20+ I was on an AS flight from SAN-SJD. Shortly after takeoff, the captain announced that she was proud to be on AS's first all female crewed flight. I bring this up to my AV geek teenage daughter when we fly together.

  6. Rebecca Guest

    How lovely! It reminds me of a BA flight I took a few months back where I was served by two girls who were identical twins!

  7. A Woodward Guest

    what a joy to read!

  8. Don Kedick Guest

    Pretty sure I read about this exact situation on SkyWest last year

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ethan Guest

The news we need nowadays.

1
Roxanne Guest

I've met this pilot before and I was offended when she suggested l become a flight attendant instead of a pilot. Guess you have to be related to be respected.

1
anon Guest

giggity

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