CBS Local — A routine flight from St. Louis to San Francisco was a little more special for employees at Southwest Airlines; not because of the destination but because of the flight’s history-making crew.
The team became the first all-female crew to staff the airline’s newest Boeing 737 Max 8 jet airliners. Southwest marked the October 18 occasion with a tweet, calling it the company’s first “unmanned” flight on a Max 8.
The crew of six included the plane’s captain, co-pilot, and four flight attendants. While it’s not the first time an all-female crew has been seen on a Southwest jet, such teams are a true rarity in the industry. According to the non-profit group Women In Aviation, only 6.7 percent of all pilots worldwide are female. Women also reportedly make up less than 10 percent of airline mechanics and engineers.
Southwest became the first U.S. airline to use the 737 Max 8 jet, which went into service on October 1. Only nine of the 175-seat planes are currently flying, making the “unmanned” journey even more special.
Southwest has a history of promoting women in the aviation industry. In March, the company presented five scholarships, totaling over $33,000, to a group of young women pursuing careers as pilots.