Alaska Airlines History: First Flight Flown by Black Female Pilots

Passengers on a Mother's Day Alaska Airlines flight got a special hello from the pilots and ended up being a part of history for the airline.

Captain Tara Wright came out of the cockpit before the Portland-bound flight on Sunday to introduce herself and her co-pilot, First Officer Mallory Cave, to their passengers in person instead of over the intercom. Wright also announced that theirs would be the first Alaska flight ever flown by two pilots who were also black women.

Before that, Wright welcomed her passengers aboard. "Today is a, is a fun day, right?" she said. She said she hoped to be connecting mothers with their families or vice versa with the flight, and mentioned that it was also her father's 80th birthday.

Then she said, "You're sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines history this morning. You'll be piloted by two African-American female pilots for the first time in Alaska Airlines's history," she told a cheering cabin. "You're making [history] this morning whether you're awake or not."

Before heading back into the cockpit, Wright said, "Once again, welcome aboard, happy Mother's Day, we're glad to have you." The pair then posed for a photo at a passenger's request.

Alaska Airlines shared the video to its Facebook page and wrote, "History in the flying. Alaska Airlines Flight #361 from San Francisco to Portland, OR. Our first ever flight piloted by 2 African-American women. What Bessie Coleman started in 1921, we continue here. #iAmAlaska"

In 2017, only 14 percent of all active airmen certificates in the United States, including those held by students, recreational flyers and other classes of flight, were held by women, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

alaska airlines flight
An Alaska Airlines plane at Puerto Vallarta International Airport in Jalisco, Mexico, on November 9, 2017. The first Alaska Airlines flight ever flown by two female African-American pilots took place on May 13, 2018. Daniel Slim/Getty Images