A Spirit Airlines flight made an unscheduled stop in New Orleans on June 22 thanks to one passenger who simply couldn’t wait any longer to arrive.
Cristina Penton, a passenger onboard the flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas, was 36 weeks pregnant as she boarded the plane with her two other children. She believed she was well enough to fly, however, soon after takeoff she alerted the flight crew that something may be wrong. The crew and fellow passengers quickly sprang into action, but there was no time to land the plane. Instead, Penton’s third child, Christoph Carsten Lezcano, became a member of a very elite and rare group of people born 36,000 feet in the air.
"It went really, really quick. There was no time to prepare or land or do anything," Penton told CNN. "He did what he wanted. We were all just along for the ride."
The bouncing baby boy weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds and was 19½ inches long, according to CNN.
Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry said in a statement: "A baby being born during a flight is very rare, but our flight attendants are trained to handle medical emergencies in flight and they have access to doctors on the ground via inflight communication.”
Indeed giving birth mid-flight is a rare phenomenon, but not totally unheard of. As Travel + Leisure previously reported, a baby born earlier this month on a Jet Airways flight from Dammam, in Saudi Arabia, to Kochi was gifted free travel for the rest of his life.
Additionally, a pregnant woman unexpectedly went into labor on a Jetstar flight from Singapore to Rangoon in 2016. The woman was so grateful for the successful delivery of her child that she named him after the airline. We think a baby named Spirit has a nice ring to it, too.