Two female pilots made history by becoming the first mother-daughter team to fly a commercial aircraft together.


In 2019, Captain Suzy Garrett and her daughter Donna Garrett made history as the first mother-daughter duo to fly a commercial aircraft together for SkyWest Airlines.

Growing up, Donna didn’t find it odd that her mother worked as a pilot. This was because her father also had the same profession, so flying an aircraft seemed like a normal thing to do.

Donna even described it as the « boring job » her parents did when they went to work. But as she got older, she became interested in their profession. She saw how passionate they were about their careers and how it gave them the freedom to travel the world.

Inspired by her parents’ love for flying, Donna decided to pursue the same career path.

Fast forward to September 2019, Donna found herself in the cockpit with her mother, co-piloting a flight for SkyWest Airlines as a First Officer.

Suzy was celebrating 30 years at SkyWest when she teamed up with Donna, making the milestone even more special.

Being a captain runs in the family, as Suzy’s husband Doug and son Mark are also pilots. It’s a family that aims high!

« We absolutely love our job. You don’t see that often in other careers, » Suzy said. « None of our kids thought about being a pilot, but when you look at other careers, like sitting in an office, and then see how happy we are—it opens their eyes. »

The photo of the proud duo in the cockpit went viral in 2020, and Suzy recalls people’s reactions as one of the most heartwarming parts of the experience.

Suzy enjoys working alongside her daughter and believes being a pilot is a great profession for her as she enjoys « variety and excitement » in her life.

« It’s nice for your child to experience what you’ve experienced. She’s part of the SkyWest family, » the proud mother said.

The image of Donna and Suzy sharing a flight deck symbolized a happy and remarkable moment in aviation, especially as many female pilots struggle to assert themselves in a male-dominated field.

This isn’t the first time Suzy has made history, as she was also one of the first women hired by SkyWest. She has been with the airline since 1989, living her lifelong dream of being a pilot for over three decades.

Suzy fell in love with the skies after taking her second flight from Arizona to Los Angeles in eighth grade. She was mesmerized by the sunset as she looked out the window of her cabin.

She knew such a big dream wouldn’t be easy to achieve, but she persisted.

Determined, Suzy enrolled in the aviation program at Mount San Antonio College in California in 1984. She spent a few years as a flight instructor before landing her first job at SkyWest.

Suzy said she hasn’t experienced discrimination in the cockpit and felt she had the same opportunities as her male colleagues.

Uncomfortable remarks came from those who knew little about aviation or commercial aircraft.

« Outside of the profession, I had to convince people, » she said.

Suzy has gotten used to seeing the surprised expression on people’s faces when they realize she was the one who landed the commercial aircraft.

Suzy said the landscape has changed, and people are becoming more accustomed to seeing female pilots. Most of all, she’s delighted to have inspired young women to enter the industry with her viral photo.

Suzy also shared that flying is an excellent career choice for women as it offers flexibility in work schedules and the opportunity to travel.

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