Mother-Daughter Duo Pilot First Southwest Flight Together: 'It's Been a Dream Come True'

Mother-Daughter Duo Pilot First Southwest Flight Together: 'It's Been a Dream Come True'
·2 min read

A mother and daughter made history when they teamed up to pilot a Southwest flight earlier this month.

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt became the first mother-daughter pilot duo in company history when they flew from Denver to St. Louis on July 23, according to a press release from the airline.

"It's been a dream come true," Holly said in a statement. "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."

RELATED: Washington Teen Saves Pilot After Helicopter Crashed on Top of His Tractor: 'Saw it Last Second'

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight
Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone

Holly began her aviation career as a flight attendant right after college, but after one fateful flight, she realized she wanted to become a pilot.

As she took flight lessons, Holly "welcomed three beautiful kids," supporting her family as a full-time mom — and with the support of her husband and mom, she was able to make her dream of being a pilot a reality.

"It was the most amazing interview of my life," Holly said of becoming a Southwest pilot in a company blog post. "Eighteen years later and I'm still giddy to do my job."

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight
Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Keely, who fell in love with flying when she was just 14 years old, followed her mother's footsteps. She eventually earned her pilot's license and scored an internship with Southwest Airlines in 2017 to further her aviation career.

"Southwest was always the end goal for me," Keely shared. "There was really never any other option."

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight
Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone

"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," the company shared in a statement.

According to the Pilot Institute, only 6 percent of pilots are female.

RELATED: Junior Lifeguards Help Save Pilot After Small Plane Crashes into Ocean at California Beach

Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight
Captain Holly Petitt and First Officer Keely Petitt, Southwest’s First Mother/Daughter Pilot Duo Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines Co. | Schelly Stone

Reflecting on the big day, Holly shared that the morning of July 23 was "very emotional."

"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!" the proud mom wrote in a Facebook post. "I love you to the moon and back, Keely Petitt!"