Getting real about being born on a plane

When you’re born in mid-flight you get a lifetime of free air-travel. Babies that are born on a plane always get the carriers nationality. Just two out of many myths about being born on a plane. I feel that’s it’s time to get real with you about giving birth on an airplane or flying in your last trimester of pregnancy. So buckle up and hold on to your beliefs. For now.

Who am I and where do I belong?

To start quite frankly: When born on a plane, you don’t get the nationality of the carrier you’re flying with. You don’t become a citizen of the country you’re flying over, nor do you end up with two nationalities. What actually happens? Well, it’s most likely you’ll get the nationality of your mother. Of course things are not always that crystal clear, but for now let’s just stick to the ‘regular rarities’.

A great conversation starter, but…

‘I was born on an airplane’ is bound to be the start of a good cocktail conversation. But that’s about it. It sounds way better, romantic even, than it actually is for the ones involved. Some of you might already know by experience, but giving birth can be a stressful event on its own. Something even a well-equipped hospital or trusted homely environment can’t change. Now think of that same event happening in a small enclosed space, lying on a makeshift bed, surrounded by hundreds of passengers while travelling at an altitude of 30.000 ft. with a speed of 920 km/h. See? Out goes romance and in comes reality.

Is there a doctor on board?

Childbirth is a very beautiful yet complicated process. Even when a pregnancy has been totally eventless, problems can always occur during delivery. If they do, an intervention by a medical doctor is necessary. And although statistics show that on each flight there’s always some sort of medical doctor present, you really don’t want to end up in labor, wondering if the doctor delivering your baby has the right obstetric experience. Needless to mention that circumstances on board of an airplane are not ideal for a vulnerable new born.

From son to father

When a child is born, a father is born. An old African saying that doesn’t add up if we believe the myths and if that child is born on board of an aircraft without its father there. The proud dad probably won’t even know about his child being born until the plane lands. By that time the umbilical cord has already been cut by presumably a flight attendant and the paperwork has been filled in. So, come to think of it, in case of a birth up in the sky, the African verb would probably be ‘A child that is born on an airplane is delaying the birth of the father’.

It’s a KLM- baby

So, now that I’ve dismantled some birth-on-an-airplane-myths, it’s time for some truth. Because on 30 October 2006 on board of a KLM-flight to Manilla, a baby boy was born. His parents gave the boy the initials K.L.M. This of course was their own free choice.

I would like to leave you with some good advice and tips on flying (or not flying) when pregnant, because of course we want you to fly as comfortable as possible and without worries.

Posted by:   Noud Schel  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


But the most interesting question remains: does the baby get a lifetime of free air-travel?


They called it a myth, so…


So what about free lifelong flights? :)

Noud Schel

I’m sorry, can’t guarantee that :)

Frederika Lubbers

What will be the place of birth?

Noud Schel

That is not clear, but one can imagine it would be either the name of the country the plane is flying over, or maybe the statement ‘in the air’ with or without the exact coordinates.


Sorry, but completely wasted article.


You could have written much more interesting article! c’mon! I was waiting and waiting for the story to build up, but it just never happend.


a baby born in flight will be a premature baby which is usualy no fun even in a well equiped hospital.


Hi Kessena Emuakpeje


They should get a lifetime of free air-travel if you were born in a plane, But today’s day all the companies including air flight companies like K.L.M. are so greedy.

James A Bordonaro

I’m surprised that there is not an international agreement to regulate births and deaths and other unusual events which occur in the air.


There is, baby’s birth will be declared at the arrival airport , same as for marriage on board

Rudolf Huijs

The botom line of the article seems to be “don’t fly while in the last weeks of pregnancy”. I was expecting a humorous article or something really interesting, instead it is a very dull blog.


Luckily I was working one of the dirvert flight with same situation on ground. Trust me, it is not romance and no fun at all.

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