A press release arrived in my inbox from Finnair this morning, announcing that a baby girl had been born on one of its flights from Bangkok to Helsinki.
As a pregnant woman, the press release caught my eye and got me wondering how common this is. So I did a google search to find out how many babies are born on planes each year, but I couldn't find any actual numbers.
Finnair's press release says pregnant women are permitted to fly up to the end of the 36th week of their pregnancy and up to 38 weeks on its short-haul flights, provided the pregnancy has proceeded normally.
I was surprised by this - I didn't think airlines would allow travel so late in pregnancy. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't want to take the risk of giving birth on a plane. I can't imagine there'd be much privacy!
It also got me thinking - what would the baby's nationality be? Does anyone know what the rules are on this?
For those interested in the Finnair case, here's the rest of the press release:
Baby girl born on Finnair flight
A baby girl was born on a Finnair flight from Bangkok to Helsinki above Kazakhstan in the altitude of 11 000 km on November 20. The baby's Swedish mother was returning from Thailand.
"Finnair wants to congratulate warmly the whole family on this happy event," says Christer Haglund, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications. "This is a unique occasion for Finnair, since no birth has ever taken place on one of our flights before. The family will get return Finnair flights to Bangkok as a gift."
The birth took place with the assistance of a doctor from the MedLink medical service by satellite phone link between two doctors travelling as a passenger and two nurses.
The mother and child were taken immediately upon arrival from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to hospital. A MedLink doctor is on duty for all Finnair wide-body aircraft, making available round-the-clock expert assistance.
The flight left Bangkok at 12.35 local time and arrived at Helsinki at 18.20 Finnish time. The flight took 10 hours and 50 minutes and there were 227 passengers on board.
Pregnant passengers beyond their 28th week of pregnancy must provide a doctor's certificate confirming that the pregnancy has proceeded normally. Pregnant passengers may travel up to the end of their 36th week, and on Finnair's short domestic and Scandinavian flights they may travel up to the end of the 38th week provided that the pregnancy has proceeded normally. The restrictions are based on recommendations made by the International Air Transport Association, IATA.