Meet Southwest Airlines’ First Mother-daughter Pilot Duo

In July, Southwest Airlines welcomed an extraordinary team to the cockpit.


The airline recently announced its first-ever mother-daughter pilot duo, Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt. The pair have already taken their first flight together on Flight 3658 from Denver to St. Louis.


“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,” Holly shared in a statement.


Holly began her career in aviation just after finishing college. First, she joined the skies as a flight attendant on another carrier. However, after riding in the jumpseat on one of her flights di lei, Holly knew she was better suited to be at the controls. From there, she got her certifications in order, all while raising a young family.


Holly (right) and Keely (left) Petitt making Southwest history on Flight # 3658 from Denver to St. Louis.
Schelly Stone / Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

“I sat up there and just had an ‘aha!’ moment where I was (like), ‘This is it. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life,’ “Holly shared with The Denver Channel. “So I went home, told my husband Todd, and he laughed because we had three kids, the youngest was 1, Keely was just over 2, and Zoey was 3-and-a-half. That’s when I took my first flight lesson . He said, ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ And we just took it one step at a time. ”


Holly’s daughter, Keely Petitt, was also fortunate enough to grow up in the Southwest family, seeing her mother fly passengers across the country. By the age of 14, the younger Petitt knew she wanted to follow di lei in her mother’s footsteps di lei and lei started to pursue the same passion. Kelly’s career began as an intern at Southwest in 2017, creating the perfect path to the cockpit. She continued her personal pilot journey, gaining her license in 2019. She worked for the regional airline Horizon Air for nearly three years, One Mile at a Time reported, before joining Southwest this year.


Keely (left) and Holly (right) Petitt onboard Flight # 3658 from Denver to St. Louis holding an archival photo of the Petitt family on an airplane wing.
Schelly Stone / Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

“Southwest was always the end goal for me,” Keely said. “There was really never any other option.” Holly simply added, “It’s been a dream come true.”


The Petitt women aren’t the only ones making familial headlines in the air this week. Alaska Airlines also announced the addition of Alex and Alan, identical twin brothers who just finished their simulator training and will soon be flying from Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. Though one day, they too hope to fly together like the Petitts.


“We’ve never flown together professionally because we’ve always been on different aircraft,” Alex said. “The goal is to have one of us upgrade to captain and be operating the same aircraft so we can fly together.”

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