Woman Gives Birth on Saudia Flight, Gets Free Flight for Her Family (But Still Can’t Drive)

Saudia’s flight SV21 from Jeddah to New York JFK yesterday declared an emergency as it was about to head out over the Atlantic Ocean. It dumped fuel and then turned around for London Heathrow because a female passenger was going into childbirth.

Four ambulances met the plane on the ground in London to meet the new baby girl.

No doctors had been onboard the flight, so flight attendants helped with the delivering “after arranging a discreet corner in the plane.”

All were happy.

There are lots of photos of the baby with crew on social media.

Six weeks ago a woman gave birth on Jetstar Asia and named her child after the airline. The airline gave her SGD$1000 worth of baby supplies.

Last year a woman who didn’t know she was pregnant gave birth onboard an Air Canada flight from Calgary to Tokyo. A woman gave birth on a flight from Taipei to Los Angeles. And an American Airlines flight made a u-turn over the Atlantic when a woman went into labor.

A baby born last year on a Jazeera Airways flight gets 18 years of free flights. This baby and her family were offered a single free trip. No word, however, on whether the baby girl born onboard Saudia gets the right to drive.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The meta-commentary was idiotic. This is equivalent to whenever someone brings up the US we comment on how it is, still, built on genocide and slavery, and how institutional racism affects minorities to this day. Imagine the headline: “A black child is born on a US airline, is more likely to die to Police brutality”.

  2. It sounds like she was trying to get to the US to give birth for US citizenship. Birth tourism is becoming a big problem in the US.

  3. Women go into labor, jets turn around to land at the nearest airport, a planeload of people are inconvenienced and the mother and the child get rewarded with free flights and baby items and more. Incredible!

    If you are that close to the delivery date, stay the hell off my flight!

  4. I dont see the relevance of being born onboard to the baby’s future driving abilities in any particular country.

  5. No words, however, if the baby girl will be abused by her husband, allowed to be gay, vote or get equal pay for equal work. That list has been long for women.

  6. @James
    I think you are right back in 1980 when the US was a better place to live in.
    What do we have today?
    Police brutality?
    Rape in the military?
    Children using parents’ guns to accidentally kill themselves and others?
    Offsprings visiting their parents barely once a year and frown when they are asked to visit more often?
    A specific group of people being racially profiled at airports and kicked off planes for speaking a foreign language?
    Women without the freedom to cover their hair and not get harassed (Prof. Hawkins at Wheaton, IL)
    Or women without the freedom to choose how to dress without being fired (Ms. Hani Khani, 18, A&F Store in San Mateo, CA.)

    Birth tourism is not as prevelant today as it was decades ago.

    And, to add to Gary’s ending statement, the baby girl may not be afforded the right to drive in Saudi, just as much as she wont be afforded the right to live in peace in the US if she chooses to practice Islam.

    Lets not look down on others when we, ourselves, fail to live up to the fantasy of affording total freedom to ALL.

    We don’t.

  7. @HT comparing the treatment of Muslims in the US to the treatment of women/slave laborers in SA is absurd. I work for an airline at a major airport in the US and there are plenty of Muslims working on the team, who have gotten secrurity clearances without issue and do not get abused in the workplace… Even myself I’m Arab and have never experienced any real discrimination due to this in the US.

  8. Yup, stupid mom delayed the trip too long, and the baby, who looks full term, decided to come out a little too early in the trip.
    Stupid mom tried to skim on the anchor baby trip expenses, and it back fired on her.
    Good for US that the airline diverted to a non-US country.
    If anything, the airline should go after the cost of diversion to the stupid mom rather than rewarding the stupid behavior just like the Taiwanese airline did.

  9. Gotta love the attitude on many of the posts above – don’t let facts get in the way of your opinions. AND in the absence of facts, make up your own using your well honed assumptions to fill in the gaps and fit your views. Life is much more convenient that way. You can never be wrong (or so you think).

  10. Gary – i think the conclusion here is that posts about births shouldn’t have commentary sections. I’m ashamed of your commenting readership. Reminds me of the gaggle that commented on the article a while back on new FA uniforms.

    I don’t know the nationality of the parents. I don’t know the purpose of their travel. I don’t know how far along she was or if the baby was full-term, I’m not a OB so can’t eyeball it.

    I hope the commentators above do have all these answers as facts, qualifying them to pass judgement.

    I do think the sibling is throwing some major side-eye…

    …and that mother must have had her heart in her throat in fear during the ordeal. Babies can be breech, or starting coming out cords around their necks. Mothers bleed. Infections can set in. Planes are germy and babies have crappy little immune systems.

    And that the crew was tremendous. Brave resourceful and exemplary.

  11. oh my bad – mother was 7 months in according to linked article. That’s anywhere between 28 and 35 weeks. You’re not supposed to fly after 36 weeks I believe, unless you are at risk for pre-term or have multiples.

    Full term is 37 weeks on.

    and I invite anyone to go up to a wildly uncomfortable, waddling pregnant women and say “If you are that close to the delivery date, stay the hell off my flight!” –

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