Southwest Airlines Celebrates Its All-Female Crew For An 'Unmanned' Flight

"I’m showing this to my daughter tonight."

How many flights have you taken where the "this is the captain speaking" announcement came from a woman? Statistically, the answer is likely very few, if any at all. Only 6.7 percent of pilots are female, according to the nonprofit Women in Aviation Inc. who obtained data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, women reportedly make up less than 10 percent of airline mechanics and engineers. 

So, it was refreshing to see a tweet from Southwest Airlines yesterday celebrating an "unmanned" flight from St. Louis to San Francisco. 

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"The first 'unmanned' Southwest flight on a @BoeingAirplanes 737 MAX 8! All-female Crew pic taken before flying STL - SFO," the tweet said. It was accompanied by a few photos of the crew, which included the plane's captain, co-pilot, and four flight attendants. 

A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman told HuffPost that the staff thought to take the photos after realizing that the day's shift was made up of all women. The airline has unintentionally staffed other flights on different aircrafts with all-women crews, but this was a first on a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Southwest put only nine of these aircrafts in service for the first time on October 1 which makes the milestone even more special. 

But when you share something to a wide audience online, you're bound to hear from people with different points of view. One Twitter user didn't think this was a big deal. 

In response to the photos, the user tweeted — and has since deleted — "If this was an all male crew I don't think y'all would be celebrating this event."

But the airline had the perfect clapback. 

However, the response was largely positive. It has nearly 15,000 likes and more than 3,000 retweets. Many Twitter users responded by congratulating the women and voicing their excitement at seeing an all-female crew. 

In addition to their female-only crew flights, Southwest Airlines has paved the way for women in aviation in other ways. For example, the company's former president, Colleen C. Barrett, was the first female president of a major airline. This past March, the airline donated $33,500 to fund five scholarships to support women in their pursuit of careers in aviation.

The recent tweet is just another example of how important representation is. Photos like the ones they shared might just encourage more women to take their seat in the cockpit. 

Cover image via Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

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