History Made As Mother/Daughter Combo Pilots Commercial Airline Flight


Southwest Airlines recently celebrated a pretty cool achievement: their first mother-daughter pilot team! Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt just completed their first flight together, but both have been interested in aviation for a long time. 

Holly Petitt’s Dream Of Flying

Holly first began working in the air as a flight attendant. After riding in the jumpseat in the flight deck right behind the pilots, Holly realized she wanted to be the one flying the plane. She started pilot training and worked to obtain the certifications she needed to become a pilot. 

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While working on her flying career, Holly also welcomed three children. She stopped working as a flight attendant to be a stay-at-home mom, but continued working towards her dream and attending flight school.

After attending a Women In Aviation International Conference, Holly was impressed by the work culture at Southwest Airlines. She applied for a position as a pilot and soon started flying for the airline. 

Her Daughter Followed In Her Footsteps

Keely watched her mom follow this dream her entire childhood, so it’s no surprise she also wanted to pursue the same career. At 14, she decided she would follow in her mother’s footsteps and started working towards this goal. Keely earned her pilot’s license and even scored an internship with Southwest in 2017. Working with the airline made her positive that this was the airline she wanted to end up working for. 

“Southwest was always the end goal for me,” said Keely. “There was really never any other option.” She completed her pilot training and earned her Southwest Airlines wings in May of this year. 

‘It’s Been A Dream Come True’

The mother and daughter duo made their first flight together on July 23, from Denver—their hometown—to St. Louis. The Petitts made history as the first mother-daughter team of pilots in the airline’s history. Many airlines are hoping to increase their number of female pilots, and the Pettits are a great example of two women who have pursued their dreams of aviation. 

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“It’s been a dream come true,” Holly shared. “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.” Many people have been inspired by the story of the pair’s dreams of flying—and touched by the fact that mother and daughter were able to pursue this dream together.

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