BY Dollita Okine, 12:35pm March 12, 2024,

How United Airlines celebrated Women’s History Month with all-women flight crew headed by this pioneering captain

The second Black female line check pilot in United's history, Gabrielle Harding, took charge of the all-female crew on flight 1215 from EWR to SRQ. Photo Credit: ABC7

United Airlines executed a Women’s History Month flight with an all-female crew last week. On Thursday morning, the plane took off from Newark Airport and traveled to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Florida.

The second Black female line check pilot in United’s history, Gabrielle Harding, took charge of the all-female crew on flight 1215 from EWR to SRQ.

Captain Harding is the only Black woman to fly commercially after graduating from Hampton University’s HBCU pilot program in 1997. She is also a member of the “Hampton 6,” which consists of all Hampton grads who are now captains at United Airlines, and the only woman in the group.

Harding expressed, “I love everything about flying. It gives me stability to be a mother, as well as to be able to travel to different places. I love every aspect of the job.”

Flying beside Harding on Thursday was First Officer Julia Ewalefo, who began her career with United Airlines as a flight attendant and conducted her first flight there. She had previously served as a flight attendant for Frontier Airlines before moving to the flight deck, where she flew for Endeavor before joining United.

She went on to say, “For the girls and the future generation — just knowing it’s possible for us, and just to be inspired and knowing that anything you wanna do, just put your mind to it.”

The flight crew from the initial flight, Flight 2612, arrived back in Newark from Sarasota at 2:12 p.m. on Thursday.

Women hold just 4.6% of the positions of air transport pilots, according to a 2022 study by the Women in Aviation Advisory Board. Harding said that one of her motivations for becoming a Line Check Pilot and training new hires was to assist them in overcoming obstacles.

“There’s always going to be a little bit of negative feedback that comes with it,” Harding said of women aspiring to become pilots. “That’s what fuels the soul, and that’s what makes you keeps on pushing.”

“Also, that was one of the things that made me want to become a line check pilot, so that I could help people like Julia get through those barriers so that they don’t have to go through some of the pushback that I had to go through.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 12, 2024


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates