Private Indian airline Jet Airways has given free lifetime air tickets to a baby born aboard one of its flight from Saudi Arabia to India. The child’s mother, who was 30 weeks along upon boarding the flight, went into premature labor on Sunday. The airline didn’t reveal the identity of the child’s mother out of respect for her privacy.
Jet Airways announced the generous birthday present on Sunday in a social media post celebrating the baby’s arrival. The baby boy was the first baby to be born in-flight for the airline. The carrier is one of biggest in India, flying to 65 domestic and international destinations.
The airline crew and a trained paramedic flying as a passenger helped deliver the baby. In a statement, Jet Airways thanked the trained paramedic, Mini Wilson, and its crew for “the successful birth of the baby boy.” An airline spokeswoman said, “Jet Airways commends its crew for their response and promptness that saw them successfully translate their training into life-saving action.”
The Jet Airways flight had 162 passengers on board. It was bound for the southern Indian city of Kochi, but was diverted to the western city of Mumbai to rush the mother and baby to a local hospital. Mumbai is over 930 miles north of Kochi. Both mother and child are said to be doing well. The airline didn’t disclose the nationality of the boy born on its flight.
Inflight births are rare. In April, a baby girl was born mid-flight on a Turkish Airlines flight. The flight’s crew helped deliver the newborn.
Airlines generally allow most pregnant women to fly during the later stages of pregnancy, though some require medical documentation or doctors’ notes after a certain stage. The TSA recommends that any woman planning to fly after 30 weeks should “have a contingency plan.”
Six other airlines, including AirAsia and Thai Airways, have granted lifetime free air travel to babies born aboard flights. It’s entirely up to an airline to make such a call. Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific gave a newborn girl a million frequent flier points last year. Another baby got free tickets from Virgin Atlantic until the age of 21.