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Southwest's first mother-daughter pilot duo take flight

First Officer Keely Petitt knew she wanted to fly planes like her mother from 14 years old.
Credit: Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone
Southwest Airlines first Mother/Daughter Pilot duo, Captain Holly Petitt (left) and First Officer Keely Petitt (right).

DENVER — While some moms are booking their next flight with their daughters, one mother-daughter duo piloted a flight together for the first time at Southwest Airlines.

Straight out of college, Captain Holly Petitt began her career in aviation as a flight attendant. It wasn't until after riding the jumpseat in the flight deck that she realized she wanted to become a pilot, Southwest says. With the support of her husband, her mother and the welcoming of three loving kids, she was able to reach her dream of flying planes. 

Petitt's career path paved the way for her daughter's career in aviation. Following in her mother's footsteps, Southwest said after receiving the gift of a discovery flight with her siblings, 14-year-old Keely realized she, too, wanted to become a pilot. From that point, she worked to earn her pilot's license and even interned at Southwest in the fall of 2017. 

Now, almost five years later, both Capt. Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt are able to grace the skies together. 

"Southwest was always the end goal for me," Southwest reports Keely said. "There was really never any other option."

The mother and daughter flew their first flight together on Saturday, July 23, on Flight #3658 from Denver, Colorado — where they're from — to St. Louis, Missouri. The flight would make Southwest history.

Credit: Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone
Holly and Keely Petitt making Southwest history on Flight #3658 from Denver to St. Louis

"It's been a dream come true," Holly said in a news release, "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." 

Southwest Airlines said not only are the mother and daughter making history within their company, but they're also breaking barriers for women to pursue a career in aviation. 

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