An Air India flight from London to Kochi was diverted this week due to an uncommon event: a new passenger joining mid-air. On Tuesday, a woman onboard AI150 gave birth over the Black Sea, requiring the crew to divert to Frankfurt for essential medical care. Luckily, the flight had no shortage of experienced professionals, with two doctors and four nurses all joining the crew to complete a successful delivery.
According to The Times Of India, Air India flight AI150 from London Heathrow to Kochi became a lot more eventful than passengers expected. The Boeing 787-8 with 202 travelers onboard departed London at 13:21 local time, heading over continental Europe to make its way back home. However, just under three hours into the flight, a woman onboard went into labor.
The crew, trained to deal with pregnancies onboard, quickly jumped into action to assist the passenger. A call to the cabin also yielded six medical staff to take over the delivery, with two doctors and four nurses all coming forward. The baby was born just over the Black Sea and is reportedly healthy.
With the health of the mother and child as the top priority, the pilots decided to divert to Frankfurt instead of continuing to Kochi. The diversion took two hours to complete, with AI150 landing in Germany at 19:33 local time, five hours after first leaving London. In a statement, an AI spokesperson said,
“The human face of Air India was evident yet again as a lady passenger flying from Kochi to London went into labour mid-air. Our experienced cabin crew swung into action and identifying doctors on board sought their assistance to deliver the child…All onboard equipment were used, two first-aid kits and one physician’s kit. The baby and mother, who was seven months pregnant, are fine. The woman, newborn and one person travelling with her have alighted at Frankfurt.”
Childbirths on flights remain a rare occurrence and airlines are generally strict about allowing pregnant women onboard in their last two months of the term. Restrictions vary across carriers, with some restricting travel at 28 weeks, while domestic airlines may allow up to 36 weeks. Some international flights also require a certificate proving the age to avoid onboard births.
However, premature deliveries or unclear information can lead to onboard deliveries. This is why cabin crew training includes childbirth, ensuring that at least some aid can be provided in this rare situation. A combination of this and a doctor onboard can help in safe delivery, although nowhere near the usual conditions of a hospital.
#FlyAI : Baby on board!
AI 150 of 5th Oct, en route to Kochi from London with 202 pax, landed in Frankfurt with 203 passengers.
We had a surprise arrival mid air.A baby boy was born. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/SMDtBxb1ba
— Air India (@airindiain) October 6, 2021
AI150 is now one of the many miracle flights that have added a passenger while in the skies. In late August, a Turkish Airlines evacuation flight from Afghanistan also saw a baby born onboard as did a domestic IndiGo flight in March. Our congratulations and best wishes to the mother and child!