International Women’s Day is an important day for brands and companies, who will enjoy the social media bump and slightly increased visibility as they pander to women everywhere through one cute marketing stunt or another. With that said, British Airways took a different, more substantial route this year: the airline launched the United Kingdom’s biggest all-female flight crew. Flight 1484 from London’s Heathrow Airport to Glasgow, Scotland on Monday, March 5 had 61 female employees, from baggage handling and loading to cabin crew operations mid-flight, making it the first end-to-end all-female flight, Travel+Leisure reports. It’s more than just turning your logo upside-down: this is a tangible, visible shot at inclusion and greater representation.
“As a mom of two teenage daughters, I think it’s crucial that we grab every opportunity we can to inspire the next generation,” Julie Levy, a captain at the airline, said in the statement.
“There wasn’t any visibility of female pilots when I was growing up, so I think events like this are important to help show the range of different careers that are available to women,” she added.
“So many people think the jobs on the ramp, under the wings of aircraft, are just for men,” Joanne Kershaw, a ramp manager for the airline, said in a statement.
“I loved being part of a team of women at the top of their game, working all together for the first time on one flight, to get it ready and away on time for our customers,” she added.
The British Airways flight had 204 customers onboard, and that number included British Airways student ambassadors who are interested in a future in the aviation industry. For an added treat, passengers received cupcakes upon boarding to start the celebrations. Although the flight happened on Monday, customers who fly with the airline on Thursday, March 8, the official International Women’s Day, will watch a video of the historic female crew during their flight.
While British Airways might have gone for the big prize with the biggest all-female flight, a few other airlines have gotten in the general spirit of International Women’s Day by operating all-female flight crews in honor of the day.
Virgin Atlantic, for example, has three all-female crews flying out of Manchester, London Gatwick, and London Heathrow on March 8. On the other hand, budget airline easyJet is celebrating the day by including over 100 female pilots on the day’s flight roster. After the numbers are crunched, the move means women will operate about a quarter of the scheduled flight for the airline on March 8.
easyJet representatives claim that this will be the highest number of female pilots the airline has had flying in one day in its history.
Besides its female pilots, the airline will also have six all-female crews flying between London, Bologna, Rome, Milan, Munich, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Agadir on March 8.