The pilot, co-pilot, and four flight attendants celebrated the (unintentional) occasion.
Upon realizing that the flight crew from St. Louis to San Francisco was comprised solely of women — a pilot, a copilot, and four flight attendants — the staff decided to memorialize the unintentional event as an “unmanned” flight. Though Southwest has unintentionally staffed flights with an all-female crew in the past, this instance took place aboard one of the airline’s newest planes, a 737 MAX 8, one of only nine put into service on Oct. 1.
Before takeoff, but after realizing the assignments would render this flight “unmanned,” the crew managed to snap a few pics to commemorate the moment.
Inevitably, at least one Twitter user replied to the tweet saying this fanfare would never be deployed for an all-male crew. (That tweet has since been deleted.)
Southwest was quick to offer a logical response to that line of criticism.
With women comprising only 6.33% of all commercial pilots, the unintentional confluence of a female pilot, co-pilot, and flight attendant team is indeed a rarity, though many are hoping the frequency of such instances is on the rise.
Southwest has a history of championing equality in the aviation industry. The airline’s former president, Colleen Barrett, was the first female president of a major U.S. airline. The company also turned their plane cabins pink in a show of solidarity with those participating in the women’s marches earlier this year. Southwest also recently funded five scholarships totaling $33,500 so that women could pursue careers in the aviation industry.
Nonetheless, the novelty of an all-female crew is a sign that inequality still prevails, but Southwest’s support suggests that such instances might become more frequent in the future.