Last Saturday on July 23, Southwest Airlines passengers traveling from Denver, Colorado, to St. Louis, Missouri, experienced one of the most heartwarming flights in aviation history.
Their pilots were a mother-daughter team, Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, in what the business says is a first for its flights.
Southwest claims that Holly first began to have dreams of becoming a pilot when sitting in the jumpseat while working as a flight attendant for another airline. While she and her husband supported their three children, she took flying training.
“It’s been a dream come true,” said Captain Petitt. “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.”
After she and her siblings had a discovery trip, her daughter Keely, who grew up with her mother as a pilot, realized she had to continue in her mother’s profession.
Through Southwest’s Campus Reach Internship Program in 2017, she was able to complete an internship before ultimately being employed as a commercial pilot.
Holly has 18 years of experience and a successful career as a pilot with Southwest Airlines. She is currently relishing another “first” in her life: Her middle child Keely, now 25 years old, made the decision that she, too, wanted to be a pilot like her mother.
Keely claims that ever since she was around 13, she has known what she wants to do.
“For Christmas, she got each of us kids a flight where you go up in just a small plane with an injector 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.’”
Keely emerged happy and waving to the excitement and congratulations of the 175 passengers. For two pilots who shared the same passion and dream, their mission was successfully completed.