Mom and daughter realized their dream and now fly airplanes as co-pilots

Adopting your parent’s profession and following in their footsteps is a pretty awesome thing to do. Even better, though, is when you later have the opportunity to work with them!

Keely and Holly Petitt are a mother-daughter team. However, they stand out from the typical parent-child pair in some way.

The mother and daughter are Southwest Airlines coworkers and pilots! Keely Petitt, the mother, is the First Officer and Captain Holly Petitt is the Captain.

The two have already taken Flight 3658 from Denver to St. Louis successfully.

“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 about their experience working together as pilots.

Holly got her start in the aviation industry right after college. She made the decision to consider piloting the aircraft herself while employed as a flight attendant by another airline. She had the idea while seated in a jump seat, and she immediately began working toward her certification while also raising her young family.

“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. 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,” she shared.

Keely, her daughter, was 14 when she made the decision to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue a career of her own. She then put effort into earning her certification, and in 2019 she was granted her license. After receiving her license, she spent three years working for a small regional airline before switching to Southwest in 2022.

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