News

Airline Gives Lifetime of Free Flights to Baby Born in Midair

It's normal for babies to receive a bonanza of gifts just to celebrate their arrival into the world, but one newborn in India got the motherlode of presents earlier this week for having exceptional timing. The baby boy, who was delivered at 35,000 feet after his mother went into labor mid-air on a Jet Airways flight, is getting free flights for life from the airline.

The child's mother went into premature labor during the middle of a flight en route from Saudi Arabia to the southern Indian city of Kochi. The flight's cabin crew, alongside a paramedic that was on board at the time, were able to safely deliver the baby on the plane, which was diverted to Mumbai where the mother and newborn were taken to a local hospital and are both reported to be doing well. Jet Airways claims this is the first baby to be born during one of their flights, and decided to celebrate the occasion with one hell of a birthday gift for the kid. 

There's a longstanding rumor that babies born on planes are automatically granted free flights for life, but it's actually a rare occurrence and far from standard practice. Not in this case, though. Jet Airways even posted a congratulatory birth announcement acknowledging the gift (and thanking the cabin crew involved) from its official Twitter account. 

For privacy reasons, neither the baby's name nor nationality have been mentioned by the airline, but hopefully he'll have plenty of reason to be traveling throughout India, the Middle East, and Europe, where Jet Airways primarily flies. It's also unclear what place of birth will eventually show up on his passport, since people who're born midair on international flights have long encountered complicated nationality issues

Most airlines allow expectant mothers to travel until the 36th week of pregnancy, but here's to hoping this doesn't set off some sick trend of super-pregnant women hopping planes in hopes of scoring gratis airfare for their kids.

h/tBBC News

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.