A Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) flight saw some unexpected excitement over the weekend when a woman gave birth mid-flight. This past Saturday, July 27, 2019, the departure from Doha, Qatar was on route to Beirut, Lebanon, when the passenger went into labor shortly after entering Iraqi airspace.
Middle East Airlines confirmed the news: “Announcements were made to check if there was any doctor on board to assist with the delivery, but no doctors were on board that flight,” Rima Mikaoui, director of public relations for Middle East Airlines-Air Liban, told USA TODAY.
“MEA Cabin Crew handled the situation (they assisted the lady with the delivery) and all went well, the baby was delivered onboard and was well taken care of,” Mikaoui said. “The flight was diverted to Kuwait where the mother and the baby born disembarked to receive medical attention; the flight resumed its operation to Beirut.”
Followers of the “Lebanese Plane Spotters” Facebook group page got a glimpse of mother and brand-newborn baby in a photo posted following the in-flight event. The touching story has gained momentum online, with over 1,000 shares as of Monday morning.
The post’s commentary praised the capable crew of flight ME435 for helping to deliver the tiny, surprise passenger, and attending to the new mother and neonate until the plane could land in Kuwait, where they were to further medical care.
The mid-air birth is by no means an isolated incident. Earlier this year, a baby boy was delivered aboard a JetBlue flight traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; and, back in 2017, Turkish Airlines flight attendants helped a mother give birth to a daughter at 42,000 feet in international skies while en route from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from Conakry, Guinea.
Airline policies regarding flying while pregnant largely depend on information provided by passengers themselves as to the stage of each pregnancy, and, clearly, timelines aren’t always exact.