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What Happens When a Baby is Born Mid-Flight?



Turkish Airlines

The birth of a child is an extraordinary event, but what if that child is born at an altitude of 35,000 feet in an airplane? These unusual circumstances raise questions about medical requirements, legal implications, and citizenship. Along with these concerns, the widespread myth that babies born on planes receive free flights for life has captured the public’s imagination. Let’s take an in-depth look at what happens when a baby is born mid-flight.

It’s important to note that the phenomenon of babies being born on flights is rare. Despite the uncommon nature of these events, several instances have occurred in recent years, with each one generating considerable interest from both the media and the general public.

Are Free Flights for Life a Myth or Reality?

baby is born mid-flight

The notion that babies born on planes receive free flights for life has gained traction over the years, but is there any truth to it? In one well-documented case, EgyptAir granted a baby free flights for life after being born on a flight from Cairo to London on September 15, 2020.

Thrilled by the safe birth of the baby and the heartwarming news, EgyptAir wasted no time in announcing through a Twitter post that they would celebrate the remarkable event by granting the child free flights for life. The message spread rapidly online, with numerous congratulations pouring in for the new mother, Hayam.


However, the excitement soon subsided as the airline appeared to reconsider their generous “lifetime travel ticket” offer. EgyptAir promptly followed up with a second message, insinuating that the free flights for life were actually meant to be exclusively for trips to Munich.

While this story seems to validate the myth, it remains an exception rather than a rule. Unofficial sources claim that none of the UAE-based carriers give free flights to babies born on their planes, illustrating that this generous offering varies depending on the airline’s discretion. Ultimately, the notion of free flights for life remains a captivating but uncommon perk.

Flying During Pregnancy: When is it Safe?

baby is born mid-flight

When it comes to flying during pregnancy, medical professionals generally deem air travel safe up until the 8th month of pregnancy. Airlines have different cutoffs for safe flying, with some allowing air travel up to 36 weeks, provided healthcare professionals clear the passenger. Pregnant passengers should consult their doctor and check their airline’s policies before flying to ensure a comfortable and safe journey.

Different airlines have different rules for traveling while pregnant. For example, Air Arabia accepts pregnant passengers up until the end of their 35th week for single pregnancies and 32nd week for multiple pregnancies, provided they present a medical certificate stating the number of weeks of pregnancy and confirming their fitness to fly. Etihad Airways and Emirates also require a medical certificate from the 29th week of pregnancy onwards. Always consult your airline for specific policies related to pregnancy and flying.


Airline Policies on Pregnant Passengers and In-Flight Childbirth

baby is born mid-flight

Airline policies regarding pregnant passengers and in-flight childbirth vary greatly across different carriers. These policies dictate how late into a pregnancy a passenger is allowed to fly, the documentation required, and the level of training provided to the cabin crew to handle such situations. Understanding these policies is crucial for ensuring a safe and comfortable flight experience for expectant mothers.

Most airlines have specific cut-offs and documentation requirements for pregnant passengers. Air Arabia, for example, allows pregnant passengers to travel up to the end of their 35th week for single pregnancies and the 32nd week for multiple pregnancies, provided they present a medical certificate. This certificate must state the number of weeks of pregnancy and confirm that the passenger is fit to fly.

Etihad Airways and Emirates follow similar policies, requiring a medical certificate starting from the 29th week of pregnancy. This certificate must include essential information such as confirmation of a singleton or multiple pregnancy, the estimated date of delivery, and assurance that there are no complications preventing the passenger from flying.

Some airlines like Southwest Airlines and Delta do not have specific restrictions for pregnant passengers and do not require a medical certificate. In contrast, Frontier and United require a medical certificate for passengers traveling during their 36th week of pregnancy.


Training for In-Flight Childbirth

Airlines have varying policies on training their cabin crew to handle in-flight childbirths. While there are no industry-wide standards, many airlines choose to provide training to their staff, particularly those operating long-haul flights. This training ensures that the crew can assist in rare events like in-flight births when spontaneous landings might not be feasible.

baby is born mid-flight

Emirates Airlines, for instance, has confirmed that its cabin crew are trained to handle childbirth and various other emergencies onboard. By offering specialized training, airlines can prioritize passenger safety and well-being in unexpected situations.

Airlines’ Response to In-Flight Childbirth

Airlines handle in-flight childbirths on a case-by-case basis, determining whether a diversion is necessary or if the flight should continue as planned. In most cases, flight attendants and crew consult with passengers to see if there are medical professionals onboard who can assist with the delivery.

Once the baby is born and everyone is safe, airlines may have different policies regarding accommodations for the newborn and their parents. These policies can include issuing special documentation, assisting with nationality determination, and providing any required support for the baby and the family.


The Complex Question of the Baby’s Nationality

selective focus photography of a baby looking through the window
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

The issue of a baby’s nationality when born mid-flight can be quite intricate. Various factors come into play, such as the territorial principle, which raises the question of where the child was born. The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation states that each nation has full and exclusive air sovereignty over its territory, meaning that any aircraft is subject to the law of the state whose airspace it occupies at any given moment. This includes the birthplace principle, which can result in a second passport if the birth occurs in the airspace of a foreign country.

While most countries adhere to the “jus sanguinis” principle, which grants the baby the same nationality as its parents, the specific details of citizenship depend on the aircraft’s location at the time of birth. If the baby is born over an ocean, there are several legal possibilities to consider. One option is that the baby might become a citizen of the country where the aircraft is registered. Alternatively, the baby could inherit the parents’ citizenship, irrespective of the birth location.

For births occurring over land, the baby’s citizenship options can vary. Some countries have made extensive claims regarding the airspace above their borders, ranging from 43 to 99 miles up. A few of these countries grant citizenship to babies born in their airspace, while others do not. For instance, the United States offers citizenship to babies born within its airspace or waters, even if the newborn’s parents are foreign nationals. On the other hand, the United Kingdom does not grant citizenship to babies born in British airspace.

Final Thoughts

Giving birth mid-flight is not the most ideal or likely situation for pregnant passengers, but it does happen occasionally. Pregnant passengers should consult their doctor and check their airline’s policies to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. And who knows – your baby just might be the next mid-air miracle!


What unique challenges do you think come with giving birth at 35,000 feet, and how would you react to witnessing such an extraordinary event?

READ ALSO: Problems You May Experience During Your Flight


Youssef is the president and founder of Aviation for Aviators; in addition to his role as Chief-in-Editor of the platform's website, Youssef is currently pursuing an engineering degree at Nile University in Egypt. With his unique blend of passion, expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit, Youssef is passionate about combining these traits with aviation to provide a unique resource for aviation enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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Crucial Factors Affecting Aircraft Takeoff Distance and What Pilots Can Do About It




The adrenaline rush that accompanies the surge of power felt during an airplane’s takeoff is a captivating experience. However, the complexities of aircraft takeoff extend far beyond this initial thrill, deeply rooted in intricate maneuvering and meticulous calculations. This process, primarily defined in terms of Takeoff Distance (TOD), involves two main segments – the ground roll and the airborne distance necessary to reach the screen height of 35 ft. Multiple factors interplay to influence this takeoff distance. Let’s delve into factors affecting takeoff distance.

Atmospheric Influence on Takeoff Performance

Factors affecting takeoff distance
Photo via pilotinstitute

The performance of an aircraft is tightly knitted with atmospheric conditions, specifically the ambient temperature. As temperatures soar, the aircraft’s performance correspondingly takes a dip. This phenomenon is attributed to the rise in density altitude. An elevated density altitude impairs both the engine performance and the aerodynamics of the aircraft, necessitating a deeper understanding of the impact of density altitude on aircraft operations.

Another atmospheric factor playing a crucial role in aircraft takeoff is the prevailing wind conditions. Planes predominantly take off into the wind, as a headwind contributes to reducing the takeoff distance, whereas a tailwind tends to elongate it. This is due to the interaction between Indicated Air Speed (IAS), True Air Speed (TAS), and ground speed. If the wind direction and speed are accurately factored into the calculations, pilots can optimize their ground speed requirements, significantly impacting the takeoff distance.

Weight and Its Impact on Aircraft Takeoff

Factors affecting takeoff distance
Photo by Mario De Pian

Weight is another factor that plays a major role in influencing takeoff distance. An increase in the weight of the aircraft essentially means an increase in inertia, translating into the requirement of greater acceleration and a consequently longer runway. A weightier aircraft also imposes a higher load on the ground, escalating the wheel drag and friction. This heightened friction, combined with the need to attain a certain speed for lift-off, necessitates a longer runway roll for heavier aircraft, thereby increasing the takeoff distance.

Runway Conditions and their Role in Takeoff

Factors affecting takeoff distance
Photo by Philip Nyman

The runway, where the action unfolds, also contributes to the intricacies of aircraft takeoff. The characteristics of the runway surface, such as the presence of water, snow, or slush, can increase the friction experienced during takeoff, affecting the required distance. Similarly, the slope of the runway also plays a part in influencing the takeoff roll. An uphill runway works against the acceleration of the aircraft, while a downslope assists the acceleration, reducing the takeoff distance.

Mitigating Factors: Practical Strategies for Optimal Takeoff

Photo by Nicholas Young

Pilots employ a range of strategies to tackle these influencing factors and ensure a smooth takeoff. One such strategy is the modification of the aircraft’s configuration, such as the lowering of flaps, which can increase lift and reduce the required takeoff speed. However, a higher flap setting also poses its own challenges, emphasizing the need for a well-calculated balance.

Ignoring these factors can lead to a decrement in performance, potentially impacting safety. Fortunately, aircraft manufacturers equip pilots with critical information, such as Weight, Altitude, and Temperature (WAT) charts, to make informed decisions for safe takeoff operations.

Factors affecting takeoff distance
Photo by R.Bexten

Unraveling the complexities of aircraft takeoff and acknowledging the factors that influence it form the backbone of efficient aircraft operation. Such understanding is critical to maintaining the safety and efficiency of flights, particularly in the realm of general aviation, where stringent training and standardization may not always be in place.

READ ALSO: Cleared for takeoff | The take off procedure explained

We’ve discussed the complexities of aircraft takeoff and the factors influencing it. Even as passengers, these aspects shape our flying experience. What are your thoughts on this intricate process? Have you ever noticed these factors at play during your travels? Share your insights or any questions you might have in the comments section below.


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Maximizing Jet Engine Efficiency: The Benefits of Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare Program



M3 Aviation Group LLC

Rolls-Royce provides a comprehensive engine management service, TotalCare program, that offers multiple engine maintenance plans to its customers. Jet engines are expensive and critical assets, and to maintain their longevity, operators often seek OEMs and third-party facilities for engine maintenance. The TotalCare program includes predictive maintenance planning, work scope management, and off-wing repair and overhaul activities at various OEM and partner locations. Rolls-Royce’s main goal is to manage engines throughout their lifecycle and ensure maximum flying availability for its customers.

Maximizing Time-on-Wing and Shop Visit Cost Risk Transfer

Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare program offers customers a choice in managing engine maintenance by transferring both time-on-wing and shop visit cost risks back to the company. Rolls-Royce aligns its TotalCare maintenance business model with its customers’ operational model to provide maximum time-on-wing for the engines. The company enhances its internal capability to repair and recycle engine components, allowing for on-wing inspection and repair of several internal and external parts without removing the engine. This approach decreases the need for new and spare parts, and accelerates the maintenance process.

Image by: Rolls-Royce

Recycling and Remanufacturing of Engines

According to Rolls-Royce, their TotalCare program can recover and recycle up to 95% of a used engine. Almost half of the recovered materials are of high quality and can be safely remanufactured to create new aerospace components. This approach minimizes the need for OEMs to purchase raw materials, making engine maintenance more sustainable and cost-effective.

TotalCare Engine Management Plans

Rolls-Royce offers three engine management plans through its TotalCare program: TotalCare Life, TotalCare Term, and TotalCare Flex.


TotalCare Life

Under the TotalCare program, customers pay an agreed-upon amount per engine flight hour (EFH) during the engine’s operation, similar to the power-by-the-hour contract offered by many OEMs. Rolls-Royce mandates a minimum term for this plan, and the exact dollar amount per EFH varies based on the customer and usage. If the aircraft and engine are sold to another operator midway between overhauls, the unused maintenance credits can be transferred to the new operator if they also enroll in the TotalCare program.

TotalCare Term

As part of the TotalCare program, the TotalCare Term plan charges an agreed-upon rate per engine flight hour (EFH) to cover expected shop visits for the duration of the agreement. However, if the term ends midway between shop visits, the operator will not have contributed towards the engine life used since the last shop visit. This plan offers a lower rate per EFH, but it limits the services provided within a specific term.

TotalCare Flex

The TotalCare Flex plan is usually used for owned engines that are approaching their retirement age. Under this plan, OEMs offer a complete overhaul to maximize time-on-wing, a partial overhaul that takes the engine to its retirement date, or an engine swap.

Image by: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare program provides a comprehensive engine management service that ensures maximum time-on-wing and cost-effective maintenance for customers. The program transfers both time-on-wing and shop visit cost risks back to Rolls-Royce, enabling customers to concentrate on their core business while Rolls-Royce assumes responsibility for engine maintenance. The program offers three engine management plans, each customized to meet the specific needs of its customers. Through TotalCare, Rolls-Royce aims to encourage more customers to adopt long-term service agreements and reduce reliance on traditional third-party Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services.

Also, you might be interested in reading: Jet Engines: How They Work and Power Modern Aviation?


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Solar Impulse 2: The Groundbreaking Solar-Powered Aircraft that Circled the World




The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered aircraft, made history by completing the first circumnavigation of the Earth powered solely by solar energy. Designed by Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, this innovative aircraft with a wingspan of 72 meters and covered in over 17,000 solar cells showcased the potential of renewable energy in aviation.

The lightweight design, made from advanced materials including carbon fiber, allowed the Solar Impulse 2 to harness solar power during the day and store excess energy in four lithium polymer batteries, enabling it to fly through the night. The aircraft embarked on its journey in 2015 from Abu Dhabi, UAE, and covered over 26,000 miles, with stops in 17 destinations around the world, including India, China, the United States, and Spain.

Despite challenges such as weather delays and battery replacements, the Solar Impulse 2 persevered, highlighting the possibilities of renewable energy in aviation. It had an average flying speed of around 30-40 miles per hour, showcasing that it was not designed for speed, but rather as a platform for promoting sustainability and clean technologies.

During stopovers, the Solar Impulse team engaged in educational and outreach activities, raising awareness about the importance of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change. The success of the Solar Impulse 2 marked a significant milestone in aviation history, inspiring further advancements in sustainable air travel.

In conclusion, the Solar Impulse 2 was a pioneering solar-powered aircraft that completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth powered solely by solar energy. Its lightweight design, advanced materials, and innovative use of solar power showcased the possibilities of renewable energy in aviation. The Solar Impulse 2’s historic journey will be remembered as a milestone in aviation and a testament to the power of human innovation in driving positive change for a more sustainable future.

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