What Happens If a Woman Gives Birth on a Plane
While there aren’t any official statements on this, it’s known that around 60 babies have been born in the sky, and they’re known as “skyborne” or “airborne.” A plane is not the delivery room a future mother would dream about, but it could happen, and it has in the past — and in some cases, the newborn received special gifts and privileges.
We at Bright Side enjoy going through uncharted territory to look for answers and uncover the unknown just to share it with all of you. And that’s what we did for airborne babies.
1. It’s up to the crew to decide if an emergency landing is needed.
Even though most airlines now have placed limits on how far along a pregnant woman can be whille flying (usually no later than 38 weeks or 30 days before the due date and confirmed with a doctor’s note), there are still ways that unexpected labor can happen.
Even though it’s rare, if it does happen and a woman goes into labor, the crew doesn’t have a lot of options. First of all, flight attendants are not trained to deliver babies. So at that moment, everyone will hope that there’s a doctor or a nurse on the flight.
If there aren’t any medical professionals on board, the flight attendants will act as midwives and deliver the baby. This is likely to happen if there is no way they can make an emergency landing, and the flight simply continues to its initial destination.
2. There isn’t one rule that applies to the baby’s citizenship.
While the rules are not set in stone and can change depending on the airline and the territory that the plane is flying over, one thing is for sure: the baby will get the same citizenship as its mother and father.
The other 2 possibilities are that the baby will get citizenship of the country where the aircraft is registered or where the plane is at the time of the delivery. For example, if a baby is born in any part of US territory, even in the air, it will get US citizenship immediately. But if a baby is born in British airspace, it won’t get UK documents.
3. Some airlines might give free tickets to the baby.
There are a few rumors flying around that babies born on planes get a lifetime’s worth of free flights. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. There have been only a few babies who have received free flights for life, like one baby boy who was born on an Indian airline and a girl born on an Egyptair Flight.
Babies who were born on Polar Airlines, AirAsia, Asia Pacific Airlines, or Airways — and one baby from a Virgin Atlantic flight — got free tickets until the age of 21. And in 2017, a boy was born on a Spirit Airlines flight and was gifted with free tickets on his birthday for life, but with an additional guest passenger too.
4. The plane might be renamed in the baby’s honor.
In 2019, a JetBlue flight landed with an extra passenger. The available medical personnel and the crew helped to deliver a baby boy thousands of miles in the air. They renamed the plane “Born to Be Blue” after the baby and their youngest customer ever.
Babies might even get gifts from the airlines. In 2018, a baby girl was born on a Chick-fil-A flight. She was given food for life and was even guaranteed a job position for when she is old enough.
5. The baby’s health could be at risk.
There are a few reasons why a plane is not the ideal place for a baby to be born. First of all, the air up there is thinner, which will make it difficult for the baby to breathe. Second, in a plane, there isn’t any high-tech equipment that will help with labor, especially if an emergency C-section is needed. Also, the newborn’s ears might struggle due to the air pressure.
Even though it’s pretty rare for birth to happen in the air, the crew will make sure that the mother feels as safe and as comfortable as possible. The mother might get moved to a more spacious area, like first class or business class.
Where were you born? Do you know someone who was born on a plane? What places would you visit if you had free plane tickets for life?