Mother and daughter pilot team take first flight together

·2-min read
Captain Holly Petitt [L] and First Officer Keely Petitt [R] on their first flight together as pilots  (Southwest Airlines/Schelly Stone)
Captain Holly Petitt [L] and First Officer Keely Petitt [R] on their first flight together as pilots (Southwest Airlines/Schelly Stone)

A mother-and-daughter team of pilots have flown their first plane together for Southwest Airlines.

Captain Holly Petitt and first officer Keely Petitt flew the aircraft for the US domestic carrier from their home city Denver, Colorado.

On 23 July, they flew the plane to St Louis, Missouri, on a journey that typically takes almost two hours.

Captain Petitt said the flight with her daughter last month was “surreal”, but said it was a “dream come true” that her child has fallen in love with the same career.

The mother-of-three was able to fulfil her aspirations of becoming a pilot after she had worked as a cabin crew member for a different airline after graduating from university.

She took flying lessons while looking after her children, with the help of her husband Todd and her mother, she said.

Keely – who had dreams by the age of 14 of flying planes – earned her pilot licence two years after a 2017 internship at Southwest.

She then worked for regional airline Horizon Air for nearly three years before joining Southwest this year, according to aviation blog One Mile At A Time.

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

The moment Holly introduced her daughter to passengers outside the cockpit was filmed and aired on Good Morning America on Tuesday (2 August).

Passengers applauded when Holly Petitt introduced her daughter Keely Petitt (Southwest Airlines/GMA)
Passengers applauded when Holly Petitt introduced her daughter Keely Petitt (Southwest Airlines/GMA)

The passengers applauded when she said: “Today is a special day for me. I would like to introduce to you your first officer, a brand new member of the Southwest team of pilots, and my daughter, Keely.”

On the show, Holly said: “I just keep using the word ‘surreal’.

“You have this little baby you’re holding in your arms and then in a blink of an eye there she is sitting on the flight deck next to you.”

The pair don’t know when they will fly again, but Keely said she is looking forward to that day.

She told GMA: “I’m looking just at my schedule like how can I swap this around to fly with mom.

“I don’t care where we go or when we do it but anytime we would get to fly together again would just be spectacular.”

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