American Airlines Honors Bessie Coleman with All-Black, All-Female Dallas Flight

Bessie Coleman became the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1921.

Bessie Coleman Flight
Photo: American Airlines

Last week, American Airlines celebrated the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman becoming the first Black woman to earn a pilot's license with a special honorary flight.

Friday's flight from Dallas to Phoenix was operated by an all-Black, all-female crew. From the pilots and flight attendants, to the cargo team members and the aviation maintenance technician, every aspect of the flight was handled by a Black woman. Also onboard was Gigi Coleman, Bessie's great niece.

"I am grateful for American Airlines to give us this opportunity to highlight my great aunt's accomplishments in the field of aviation," Gigi said in a video shared by American Airlines.

Bessie, a Texas native who earned her pilot's license in 1921, died in 1926 at the age of 34.

"She bravely broke down barriers within the world of aviation and paved the path for many to follow," the airline said in a statement.

There is still work to be done. Black women currently represent less than 1% in the commercial airline industry.

American Airlines said it is committed to diversifing the flight deck, noting that Black women have been "notably underrepresented in the aviation industry."

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