As Southwest staffers aboard a Boeing 737 prepared for takeoff on Oct. 18, they looked around and noticed something unusual.
From the pilots to the flight attendants that day, the crew on the new Max 8 aircraft was entirely female.
A Southwest spokesperson told HuffPost that, upon realizing they were the first all-female crew to operate one of the company’s new Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners, the women snapped a series of photos of the happy, unintentional event, which the company later shared on Twitter. The airline also confirmed that all the women pictured were employees of Southwest, who were operating a flight from St. Louis to San Francisco.
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From a group photo of staffers in the aisle to shots of the two pilots in the cockpit (and also hamming it up in front of an engine), the sweet images clearly struck a chord with the Twitterverse, who blew up Southwest’s post with 20,000 likes and 300 comments. Some praised the airline for celebrating its female staffers, while other bemoaned the fact that all-female flight crews were so scarce that their existence had to be lauded.
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“Congrats, @SouthwestAir! However, I am somewhat shocked that it took 114 years of flight for this to happen,” wrote one user.
“Good God it is 2017 and this is a FIRST??” questioned another.
Southwest has actually staffed an entire plane with female employees in the past, though not on a Max 8 aircraft. The company even says it’s “not uncommon” to see an all-female crew on one of its flights, as women make up 40 percent of its workforce.
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According to the nonprofit Women in Aviation Inc., however, a mere 6.7 percent of working pilots today are female.