Saint Louis, MO

Mother-daughter duo make history as Southwest pilots

B.R. Shenoy
Clouds From Aircraft Window PhotoPhoto by Matthew Henry from Burst

“Not only are Holly and Keely making Southwest history, but also they’re breaking barriers and empowering women of all ages to pursue their dreams in aviation, and pun intended, reach for the skies.” — Southwest airlines press release.

Southwest Airlines recently celebrated a significant milestone: the formation of their first mother-daughter pilot team. Captain Holly Petitt, 53, and First Officer Keely Petitt, 25, made history by flying from Denver to St. Louis on flight 3658 on Saturday, July 23, 2022. The two were the first mother-daughter duo to pilot a flight in Southwest Airlines’ 50-year history.

Per the Pilot Institute, women make up only 9.02 percent of FAA-certified pilots, compared to 79.19 percent of flight attendants.

We've heard similar stories about fathers and sons, but given the percentage of female pilots, I believe this story is worth telling.

How did this all come to pass?

Holly started her career as a flight attendant after graduating from college before deciding to take the wheel. She took flying lessons and earned her credentials while working as a full-time mother and raising her family, according to a press release from Southwest.

Kelly, like her mother, loved flying and aspired to be a pilot when she was 14 years old. In 2017, she obtained her pilot's license and began working as an intern for the airline. In 2018, she was hired as a pilot.

Closing Thoughts

As Holly Petitt stated to Good Morning America:

"If you find aviation is your passion, go for it. It's doable no matter what your circumstances. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep working towards your goal, even with little kids in tow.. a phenomenal experience from point A to point Z so just live your dream."

We wish Holly and Keely a lot more enjoyable flights together in the future!

What are your thoughts on this inspiring mother-daughter duo? Let us know in the comments.

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