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Southwest pilots become first mother-daughter duo to fly together

Holly Petitt and Kids Flying 1.jpg
Posted at 8:43 AM, Aug 02, 2022

LOVELAND, Colo. (KMGH) — Two Colorado women made their dreams come true by becoming the first mother-daughter duo to pilot a Southwest flight together.

Holly Petitt has had a successful career as a pilot with Southwest Airlines for 18 years. Now, at 25, her daughter is joining her in the cockpit.

“I grew up watching my mom, just an awesome example of what it means to be in aviation and a strong female pilot. And when I was little, I would always go with her on her trips," Keely Petitt said.

From about age 13, Keely says she’s always known what she wanted to do.

“For Christmas, she got each of us kids a flight where you go up in just a small plane with an instructor for an hour and get to see what it's like. And I just remember going up on my intro flight, 'Oh my gosh, this is what I want to do forever.'”

In May, Keely earned her wings and just like her mom, she was hired by Southwest Airlines.

“When I knew I wanted to fly, I always dreamt of like, this magical flight where I'd be able to fly with mom and it almost, for so many years, felt like it was so far in the future. “

The magic happened for Keely and Holly on Saturday, July 23.

Their schedules aligned and they were assigned to Southwest flight 3376 from Denver to St. Louis. Finally, the two were in the cockpit together. Holly then walked to the front of the plane, grabbed the microphone and gave a speech to the passengers.

“I’m going to interrupt my normally scheduled briefing here for some exciting news: Today is a really 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 Petitt. Keely come on out here," she said.

The crowd of 175 passengers broke out in cheers and applause as Keely walked out smiling and waving.

Holly went on, “Thank you all for being here. This is an exciting day for us and for Southwest Airlines; a very special day. We are the first mother-daughter duo ever on the flight deck of Southwest Airlines, so thank you for being here”.

It was a mission accomplished for two pilots with the same passion and the same dream.

This story was originally reported by Anne Trujillo on