Daughter Follows In Mom’s Footsteps To Become Pilot — Now They’re Flying Together!

Holly Petitt and daughter Keely Petitt flying together for Southwest Air

It’s always flattering when your child wants to follow in your footsteps.

Holly Petitt of Denver, Colorado started her career in aviation as a flight attendant, but she quickly realized the cockpit was where she belonged. The mom-of-three spent years getting certified to become a pilot, eventually landing a job with Southwest Airlines.

Along the way, Holly’s daughter, Keely Petitt, fell in love with flying, too.

When she was 14 years old, Keely and her two sisters were invited to participate in a discovery flight. These short flights provide an introduction to anyone who is interested in flying, and it’s the first step for many people who pursue a pilot’s license. At the end of the day, Keely’s sisters were not interested in learning more… but Keely was hooked!

“In that moment, she realized she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a pilot,” Southwest Airlines wrote in a statement. “Keely began to pursue her passion for flying airplanes, earning her pilot’s license, and even landed an internship at Southwest in fall 2017.”

Keely always dreamed of working for the same airline as her mom, so after a brief stint with another carrier, she got a job with Southwest Airlines.

Then, on July 23rd, 2022, Holly served as the pilot while Keely took on the role of first Officer on a flight from Denver, Colorado to St. Louis, Missouri, marking the first mother-daughter-piloted flight in the airline’s history!

“It’s been a very emotional morning for me,” Holly wrote on Facebook. “One moment you are holding this tiny little premature baby in your arms and in a blink of an eye she is sitting next to you on the flight deck of a Boeing 737 jet! I love you to the moon and back, Keely Petitt!”

Southwest Airlines stated that Keely and Holly’s historic flight is another way that they fulfill their mission of “putting People first.”

“Our People are the Heart of Southwest,” they wrote. “We want to ensure we’re equipping our Employees so they have a career with Heart and Purpose. 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.”

It’s so special that Keely is not only passionate about pursuing the same career as her mom, but that she’s thrilled to do it by her side! Best of luck to this young pilot as she fulfills her lifelong dream of reaching for the skies.

Don’t forget to share Holly and Keely’s heartwarming story with a friend.

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