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All Black Female Flight Crew Makes History on Alaska Airlines

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 5/24/2018 Andrea Romano
a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky © Getty Images

Two pilots made history on Alaska Airlines last week. Captain Tara Wright and First Officer Mallory Cave piloted a flight together from San Francisco to Portland on Alaska Airlines on May 13. While this may not seem like extraordinary news at first glance, Wright and Cave were the first all-African-American flight crew to pilot for the airline.

“You're sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines' history this morning,” Wright said to passengers in her pre-flight announcement. A video was taken on the flight and posted to social media.

May 13 was also, coincidentally, Mother’s Day and Wright’s father’s birthday, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Wright was the also first-ever African-American female pilot to fly for US Airways, and she became the first African-American female pilot to be promoted to Captain back in 2017, Buzzfeed News reported. Wright was the seventh African-American woman ever to become a captain in major airline history.

“Female pilots, and especially female African American pilots, make up a tiny minority at commercial airlines,” a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said in a statement. “Attracting and hiring people who reflect the diversity of our guests supports Alaska's 2018 goal of winning together with our people.”

Wright and Cave hope this news will inspire younger generations. “I thought about my family and I thought about all the young African-American women who would watch the video and be inspired to do something that few others have done — to join us in a career that can be the most fulfilling and satisfying,” Wright told Buzzfeed News.

“It is possible and that you can accomplish your dreams,” Cave added.

As some people on social media pointed out, hopefully news like this will soon no longer be noteworthy and commonplace.

At the moment, however, we can look to Wright and Cave for being both role models and trailblazers.

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