Mother-daughter duo make history as Southwest pilots

‘It’s been a dream come true,’ said Captain Holly Petitt

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

A mother-daughter duo is making history in the sky at Southwest Airlines.

Captain Holly Petitt and her daughter First Officer Keely Petitt are the first mother-daughter duo ever on the flight deck for the airline.

The pair made their first Southwest flight together on July 23 when they flew from Denver, where the two are from, to St. Louis, according to a press release from Southwest.

Holly started as a flight attendant with another airline but went on to train and receive certifications for her pilot license.

Over the course of her career, she had three children, including Keely, who grew up around planes.

“At 14, Keely and her siblings received the gift of a discovery flight,” the press release states. “In that moment, she realized she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a pilot. Keely began to pursue her passion for flying airplanes, earning her pilot’s license, and even landed an internship at Southwest in fall 2017.”

Southwest Airlines first Mother/Daughter Pilot duo, Keely (left) and Holly (right) Petitt. (Southwest Airlines Co.)

A discovery flight is typically a short flight with a certified instructor that sometimes involves passenger participation.

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

Keely obtained her pilot license and made her way back to Southwest where she ended up on the flight deck with her mother.

“It’s been a dream come true,” said Holly, “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.”

“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 officials said.

Holly and Keely Petitt celebrating their first flight together. (Southwest Airlines Co.)

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.