Mother and Daughter Make History by Flying a Boeing 737 Together

A family history involving a passion for aviation led a mother and daughter to share the cabin of a Boeing 737 for the first time.

Photo by Shelly Stone – Southwest Airlines

It all started decades ago, when Holly Petitt started her career in aviation after she left college and when she got a job as a flight attendant for an American airline. One day, while flying in jumpseat (cockpit seat), Holly realized that her passion was there and that she wanted to fly planes and not just be inside them as a cabin crew.

She then began to invest in a pilot career and during a conference for women in aviation, she met Southwest Airlines, which at that moment was opening doors to professionals in the sector, providing scholarships to train them as pilots.

An appointment was scheduled, but she had to be canceled due to conflict with her flight schedule with the other airline, leaving Holly fearful of not getting the precious opportunity. However, she persisted and was successful in rescheduling the interview, which she said “was the most incredible of my life”. After that, 18 years have passed and she is still in the same job.

Holly and her three children in a Piper Seminole she used for training – Personal Archive

In the midst of her training and profession, she took care of her three children, among them Keely Petitt. It wasn’t easy, but she says Southwest was very supportive. The company has always been well known for its friendly work environment, having been named one of the best companies to work for in the US several times.

“During a trip to San Diego when I was little, one of my mom’s classmates gave me a big hug, asked me how my piano lessons were going and how I was doing in the volleyball championship. The Southwest family has always welcomed me very well.”says Keely.

Years later, the young woman decided to follow her mother’s career and entered the university to start a course in professional aircraft piloting. In 2017 she got an internship at Southwest and years later, after graduating, she was hired as a co-pilot of the Boeing 737.

Photo by Shelly Stone – Southwest Airlines

And their paths crossed in the cabin on the 23rd, on a flight between Denver and Saint Louis, where the two shared the controls of an aircraft for the first time, marking the history of Southwest Airlines, being the first mother and daughter pilots to fly. together in the company.

“It’s a dream come true. I discovered this career and fell in love with it, and then one of my sons also fell in love, it’s surreal.” said mother-commander Holly Petitt, after flying with her daughter.

This flight will even be the first of many, as Southwest does not restrict family members from working together on flights.

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