Thanksgiving Surprise: Woman Gives Birth At Charlotte Airport

Talk about something to be thankful for and it doesn’t get much better than an airline passenger giving birth at the airport immediately upon landing. Nereida Araujo gave birth to her third child just minutes after landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

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Thanksgiving birth at Charlotte Airport. Photo: Glen Beltz via Flickr

Florida resident Nereida Araujo was traveling with her husband and two children to be with family in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, but things didn’t go as planned.

Somewhat surprisingly, Araujo was given the green light by her doctor and the airline to fly on what is regarded as being one of the busiest travel days of the year, despite being 38 weeks into her pregnancy.

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Nereida felt her water break during the flight

At some point during American Airlines flight number AA 868 from Tampa International Airport (TPA) to Charlotte, North Carolina, Araujo realized that her water had broken. According to Charlotte’s local television news station, WSOC Araujo said,

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“I was sleeping and I felt like a pop in my lower back. I just felt like liquid and I woke my husband up.”

Fortunately for Araujo, one of the fellow passengers on AA flight 868 was a nurse who was able to comfort her until the aircraft landed in Charlotte. Araujo later thanked the unnamed nurse for all her help during what must have been a stressful time.

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What was supposed to be a 20-minute layover in Charlotte has now turned into at least three days following the unexpected arrival of the baby.

When speaking about the new Thanksgiving arrival, American Airlines spokesperson Crystal Byrd told newspaper USA TODAY that the aircraft had “requested medical personnel due to a passenger who needed assistance” upon landing in Charlotte.

The baby was born on the jetway

While also talking to a USA TODAY, spokesperson for Mecklenburg EMS Agency Grace Nelson said:

“Paramedics, along with the Charlotte Fire Department, assisted in the delivery of a healthy baby girl at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on the jetway.”

Nelson added, “We are happy (and thankful of course!!) to be a part of this family’s story.”

The delivery on the jetway went smoothly with mom and the newborn baby girl they have named Lizyana Sky Taylor recovering in a local Charlotte hospital.

“I just want to thank them so much,” Araujo told the news outlet. “Everybody was so great. They’re like my heroes. It was an experience that I will always remember.”

“We’re going to call her Sky,” Araujo said.

Why would someone choose to fly when they were so close to their term date?

I guess the lure of being around friends and family at Thanksgiving would have had a lot to do with it.

Lizyana Sky Taylor
Lizyana Sky Taylor in the hospital in Charlotte. Photo: Neddy Araujo

Rather than chastising Nereida Araujo for flying knowing that she could give birth at any moment, we should perhaps blame her doctor and the airline. What was her doctor doing giving her permission to fly 38-weeks into her pregnancy?

If you look at American Airlines flying while pregnant policy, it says that for domestic flights less than five hours, travel is permitted up to seven days before the due date. In Nereida Araujo’s case, she was 11 days short of her due date and was permitted to fly with American Airlines.

Many international airlines work on the premise of not allowing a pregnant woman to fly if they are after the end of the 36th week if pregnant with one baby. What do you think about a woman flying late into their pregnancies? Please let us know in the comments.

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Jim P

I’m trying to figure out why we should question the action of others (doctors and the airlines) regarding go/nogo decisions concerning pregnancy. If the medical experts and the airline say it’s ok to go and it is within the time limitations policies of both groups, what’s to discuss?

Gerry S

Glad the birth came while out of the airplane. Amterican would have charged her an additional fare. Live long and well, Sky. You are a potential av-geek. Welcome!