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.
The first "unmanned" Southwest flight on a @BoeingAirplanes 737 MAX 8! All-female Crew pic taken before flying STL… https://t.co/9WCjbKZ7G5— Southwest Airlines (@Southwest Airlines) 1508363987.0
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.
@ErikRoman15 You're right--that's happened quite a few more times. ^BT— Southwest Airlines (@Southwest Airlines) 1508366060.0
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.
@SouthwestAir @BoeingAirplanes .@Southwestair, thx for helping #inspire my daughters on what is possible and reinfo… https://t.co/aBmSQqL9xh— Adrian den Hartog 🛫 (@Adrian den Hartog 🛫) 1508420958.0
@SouthwestAir @JusticeGuzman @BoeingAirplanes I’m showing this to my daughter tonight. Luv it.— Jennifer S. Freel (@Jennifer S. Freel) 1508370331.0
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.