Woman Gives Birth on a Turkish Airlines Flight From Istanbul to Chicago

Thankfully, there was a doctor on board.

A woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy mid-flight on her way from Istanbul to Chicago this week with the help of the cabin crew and a doctor who happened to be on board.

The woman, originally from Morocco and traveling with her husband on a Turkish Airlines flight on Sept. 27, was two weeks before her due date when her water broke at 30,000 feet, the airline shared with Travel + Leisure. That's when the cabin crew took to the loudspeaker asking if there were any doctors on board.

By a stroke of luck, Dr. Feridun Kubilay was on the plane after having decided to delay his flight back to the United States by a week, Nola.com reported. Kubilay — a permanent U.S. resident who works part-time as a neurosurgeon in Turkey, but doesn't practice medicine in his hometown of New Orleans — quickly jumped into action.

It had been decades since he had delivered a baby, but he was ready.

"I was so happy everything was OK," Kubilay told Nola.com.

The baby born on the Turkish Airlines flight
Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

When the plane arrived in Chicago, a medical team was waiting for them, Turkish Airlines told T+L. The baby boy was named Mehdi.

When a woman gives birth mid-air, the baby's citizenship can depend on a number of factors. If the baby is born over the ocean, the child could become a citizen of the country where the plane is registered in some cases. And some countries, including the U.S., grant citizenship to a baby if it is born over that nation's land.

This isn't the first time a woman has given birth on a plane. Earlier this year, a woman gave birth after going into preterm labor on a flight from Utah to Hawaii with the help of three NICU nurses who happened to be on board.

In October 2020, a woman in India gave birth to a baby boy on a flight from Delhi to Bangalore, and in November 2019, a woman gave birth on an American Airlines flight from Florida to North Carolina.

In February 2019, JetBlue named one of its planes in honor of a baby boy who was born on a flight heading from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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