In a small but significant moment for women everywhere, Southwest Airlines celebrated a flight on Wednesday that included an all-female flight crew. Each of the eight crew members on a flight from St. Louis to San Francisco was a woman, including the two pilots.
It was the first time an all-female crew piloted a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, which only went into service earlier this month, making the occasion all the more special. When the eight women realized what was happening, they were quick to take photos to mark the occasion.
With less than 7% of licensed pilots being women, having eight women make up an “unmanned” flight crew is a rare occurrence. However, Southwest Airlines has unintentionally had all-female crews on past flights.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 18, 2017
In less than 24 hours, the tweet of the eight women on the “unmanned” flight crew has been liked more than 16,000 times and retweeted more than 3,000 times. Naturally, there was some backlash from haters, but there were also plenty of replies celebrating Southwest celebrating an all-female flight crew.
— Adrian den Hartog (@a_den_hartog) October 19, 2017
It’s quite fitting that it was a Southwest flight involved in this small piece of both women’s and aviation history. In 2001, former Southwest president Colleen C. Barrett became the first president of a major airline.
Both before and after Barrett’s tenure as president of Southwest, the airline was a leader in advancing women in aviation. The company continues to fund scholarships for young women pursuing careers in aviation.