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A Mother & Daughter’s Shared Love of the Skies Led to Co-Piloting a Southwest Airlines Flight

This is the captain speaking — and her daughter? Most people expect to hear a message from their pilot while on an airplane, but for Southwest Airlines passengers on Flight #3658 from Denver to St. Louis on July 23, they got a special treat: a flight co-piloted by the first mother-daughter duo in the company’s history!

Captain Holly Petitt and daughter First Officer Keely Pettit had the coolest bonding moment in the air, which Southwest Airlines shared on Instagram yesterday.

It’s the history making for us. 💯,” they wrote. “Congrats Keely on earning your wings and completing a historic flight with your mom. #SouthwestHistory”

In the video, Holly and Keely stand on a Southwest Airlines plane and hold up a throwback photo on an airplane from when Keely was a kid in 2000.

This iconic flight all started from a shared love of flying. “It’s been a dream come true,” Holly said in a press release from Southwest. “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.”

Holly worked as a flight attendant for another carrier after graduating college, then quickly realized she wanted to learn to fly planes. She obtained her certifications and took flight lessons while being a full-time mom to her three kids. Another reminder that moms are amazing!

“With the help of her amazing support system (her husband and mother), she was able to pursue her dream of being a pilot,” according to Southwest.

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Southwest Airlines first Mother/Daughter Pilot duo, Captain Holly Petitt (left) and First Officer Keely Petitt (right)
Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone
Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone

She worked for Southwest when Keely was growing up, and when she turned 14, she discovered the same dream as her mom. Keely and her siblings were gifted a discovery flight — and that made Keely realize she wanted to be a pilot too. So, she earned her pilot’s license and did an internship at Southwest in fall 2017, where she learned more about the aviation industry.  “Southwest was always the end goal for me,” Keely said in the press release. “There was really never any other option.”

According to the Pilot Institute, only 9.02% of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified pilots are women, compared to 79.19% of flight attendants.

Holly and Kelly beat the odds, defied gender stereotypes, and made history in their empowering mother-daughter flight. It’s such an inspirational story!

These famous moms love wearing matching outfits with their kiddos.

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