January 2, 2009

Turns Out Babies Are Born Inflight All The Time

It's only on slow news days that they get worldwide media attention. Here is a roundup of news, background, and data about babies born on airplanes:

  • In 2007, a British woman gave birth at 25 weeks on a flight from the UK to Crete. They diverted to Gatwick to offload the 1lb baby. yow. [bbc]
  • In 2006, an Egyptian-American woman gave birth prematurely on a BA flight from London to Boston. The plane made an emergency landing in Nova Scotia. Said a crew member, "We have an action plan for these sorts of things. We didn't tell passengers someone was giving birth, but we did say there was a medical emergency and called for any doctors to come forward." [bbc]
  • After this Egyptian-American-Canadian-British birth, HowStuffWorks looked at the nitty gritty of birthplace vs citizenship: "Almost every country in the world, as well as the United Nations, has procedures and recommendations for how to properly classify the geographic details of an in-air birth. The United Nations considers a child born in-flight to have been born in the airplane's registered country. Some countries point to the city where the child first disembarked the plane as the place of birth, and to the airplane's registered country as the place of citizenship. Of course, citizenship and birthplace are two different topics -- citizenship is typically a larger issue and may require some paperwork, while writing a child's birthplace on a birth certificate is often a less legally significant consideration." [howstuffworks, warning: a jillion popups]
  • British Airways also reports around one midair birth/year on its system. [ibid.]
  • In the Sept. 2000 issue of American Journal of Nursing, nurse/midwife Margaret Tennyson published, "Labor at 20,000 Feet," a protocol for delivering babies inflight. Sorry, you'll have to buy the article to find out howto. [ajnonline]
  • Hmm, maybe "five kinds of wrong" is a bit too strong. In Dec. 2006, a kid born on a Mexicana Airlines flight from Guadalajara arrived about an hour before landing in Chicago [i.e., somewhere over Kansas]. An ICE spokeswoman said his US citizenship claim would depend on what airspace he was born into. [dvorak.org]
  • In June 2008, an EMT dad from New Jersey delivered his own son on a Korean Air flight from the Philippines to NYC. The kid was born over Canada, 8 weeks premature. The parents went on the Today Show. [msnbc]
  • In Aug. 2008, an Indian-Australian woman gave birth at 35 weeks on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Adelaide. They were over Australia at the time, but the kid was said to be an Indian citizen. [news.com.au]
  • Just a few weeks ago, in November, a Swedish woman gave birth on a FinnAir flight from Bangkok to Helsinki as the plane passed through Kazakhstani airspace. No word about the baby's quadruple citizenship, but it was the first birth on FinnAir, and the family received a set of round trip tickets to Thailand. [topnews.in]
  • While debunking the myth that babies born inflight receive free travel for life, and that's why airlines ban pregnant women from flying [seriously, as if the airlines needed an excuse to dick over their passengers] snopes.com cites two cases from the 1990's where that exact thing happened. On Thai Air and Asia Pacific Airlines, some podunk island hopper out of Guam. [snopes]
  • Another freebie from 2006: A baby girl named Nancy [?] received free flights until she turns 18 for being born a month early on a Jazeera Airways flight between Kuwait City and Alexandria, Egypt. The kid was delivered during the descent, so hopefully the mom got her seat belt back on. [asiatraveltips.com]
  • Interesting. A 2007 Daily Telegraph article about an Australian doctor who delivered a Brazilian woman's breech baby on a Lan Chile flight from Auckland to Santiago appears to have cut'n'pasted a large section of that 2006 How Stuff Works page without attribution. [news.com.au]
  • Like the Brazilian woman above, the 19-yo Ecuadoran woman who gave birth in Aug. 2008 on an American Airlines flight from Guyaquil to Miami said she didn't know she was pregnant. Unfortunately, her 3 lb baby died at the Montego Bay, Jamaica hospital where they'd been dropped off. [msnbc]
  • You know what, that's probably enough for now. I'm beat.

  • 1 Comment

    Funny, you never hear about the in-flight c-sections...

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