Southwest Celebrates First 'Unmanned' Max 8 Flight While Shutting Down Haters

Before a flight to San Francisco, the crew noticed the aircraft, part of a new 737 fleet, was staffed with only women.

Southwest Airlines on Wednesday celebrated its first “unmanned” flight on the company’s new fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The “unmanned” flight was actually staffed with an all-female crew, including two pilots.

The flight staff took a photo of themselves after realizing that the day’s shift was made up of all women, a Southwest spokeswoman told HuffPost in an email. The 737 was headed to San Francisco from St. Louis.

Southwest was unable to immediately identify the women in the photo but confirmed that they were all staff members.

The sight, especially the one in the cockpit, is a rarity for the aviation industry. Only 6.7 percent of pilots are female, according to the nonprofit Women in Aviation Inc. But Southwest is no stranger to “unmanned” flights and female “firsts.”

The company’s former president, Colleen C. Barrett, was the first female president of a major airline, according to Southwest. The airline has also staffed other flights ― unintentionally ― with female-only crews in the past on other types of aircraft. This year, through Women in Aviation, Southwest donated $33,500 to fund scholarships for five female students to pursue careers in aviation.

While Southwest’s photo was tweeted Wednesday to celebrate its female employees, some of its followers tried to disparage the tweet. The airline, however, snapped back with a perfect amount of sass.

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