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My four-year-old is a frequent flyer by pretty much all definitions of the word, but even she (thankfully) can’t claim this hard core frequent flyer status….being born on a flight.
Life and death happen everywhere, even in the air, but this particular born-at-36,000-feet story strikes me as particularly interesting. Before we get to the details, know that women that are pregnant are typically permitted by the airlines to fly, at least until the very end of pregnancy. This is very different than cruises that have a cut-off date that is much earlier in pregnancy. Check with your respective airline if this applies to you, but Southwest in particular recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy. For those that don’t know, babies are considered full term at 37 weeks, so you can fly with a full term baby in your belly and still be within the published Southwest guidelines. Of course your own doctor’s recommendations may be different. Heck, I personally flew a short Southwest flight five years ago when I was about 35 weeks pregnant to attend a funeral as that sounded better at 8 months pregnant than 4 hours in a car each way.
This particular baby was born on a Southwest flight from San Francisco to Phoenix today. That is already a pretty short flight at just two hours scheduled, but the baby was born before the plane even landed at the diverted destination of LAX! Holy smokes, I know labor can come on quickly, but that meant the woman boarded the plane pregnant, and just an hour later landed in Los Angeles with her new baby. My own daughter took 27 hours from first contraction to birth, so I could have theoretically gone into labor on the longest commercial airline flight in the world and she still wouldn’t have been born before we landed. This baby wasn’t messing around!
I don’t know whether to be horrified for the mom who went through that today, or insanely jealous of her…assuming that mom and baby are doing fine.
I personally think that mom should get a congratulatory Southwest Companion Pass, and a nice warning if she plans to fly with the little one as a lap child, that she better have that kid’s birth certificate or other proof of birth in hand before flying Southwest back to SFO, as Southwest often requires proof of age even for newborns.
Seriously though, congrats to her, and the world’s newest frequent flyer!