A woman gave birth to a baby boy while traveling from Salt Lake City to Honolulu on April 28 onboard a Delta flight. Another passenger shared the news in a TikTok video that has since been viewed more than 10 million times.
Delta Air Lines confirmed to The Washington Post and Fox News that a baby was born while en route from Utah to Hawaii. The TikTok user who recorded the video shared in the comments that both the mother and the baby appeared to be “perfectly healthy when they got off the plane.”
The mother has since been identified as Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga, according to the Associated Press. She named her newborn son Raymond.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Doctor & Nurses on the Plane Helped to Deliver the Baby in the Bathroom
The woman who posted the now-viral video on TikTok, Julia Hansen, was traveling to Hawaii with her friend Siearra Rowlan. They told The Washington Post they first realized something was happening when a crew member asked if there were any medical professionals on the flight. “Everybody’s kind of turning back to see what’s happening, and then there’s a lot of shuffling between flight attendants,” Rowlan explained.
A doctor, three nurses and a physician’s assistant were on board the flight, KHON-TV reported. One of the nurses later wrote on Facebook, “We delivered a 26-27 weeker in the airplane bathroom, in the middle of the ocean… Baby and mom did great. God was definitely with us up there.”
Hansen recorded portions of what happened and posted the footage to TikTok. The video starts with her speaking into the camera, “A baby was just born on this plane.” The clip jumps to an announcement being made over the intercom. A crew member shares there has been a birth on the aircraft and asks the other passengers for a “nice round of applause for the mother.”
The plane lands about three hours later. The crew asks the rest of the passengers to remain seated to allow for a passenger to receive medical assistance.” Hansen’s video shows emergency medical technicians wheeling the mother down the aisle in a wheelchair as the other passengers applaud again.
Hansen didn’t show the baby or the mother’s face, but there is soft audio of the baby crying. The clip does include a shot of a bundle wrapped in the mother’s arms. Someone says congratulations as the mother wheels by and she says “thank you.”
Hansen’s video has been “liked” more than two million times. Many viewers posted jokes about the baby being a “citizen of the world” and that the boy will have an amazing answer when a teacher one days asks where he was born. Several people expressed compassion for the woman and how scared she must have felt in that moment. Many people commented they were moved to tears upon hearing the sound of the baby crying.
The Baby Was Born Several Weeks Ahead of the Due Date & He Is Doing Well
The baby was born “several weeks premature,” according to KHON-TV. The Associated Press reports the baby, named Raymond, was born at 29 weeks.
Mother and son were taken to Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children for treatment. The local TV station says they’re both doing well.
The three nurses from the flight visited Mounga and her son in the hospital. Mounga told the AP, “I’m just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me, and help stabilize him and make sure he was ok for the duration of the flight.”
Delta Air Lines does not impose any restrictions on pregnant passengers. The airline also does not require a pregnant woman to submit any kind of waiver or doctor’s note. Delta explains on its website:
At Delta, we don’t impose restrictions on flying if you’re pregnant and don’t require a medical certificate for you to travel. If you’re traveling after your eighth month, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor to be sure travel is not restricted. Keep in mind when booking, ticket change fees and penalties cannot be waived for pregnancy.
The rules vary based on the airline. American Airlines requires passengers who are within four weeks of their due date to “provide a doctor’s certificate stating that you’ve been recently examined and you’re fit to fly.”
United also requires a certificate from an obstetrician clearing a pregnant passenger to fly. United’s website says the “certificate must be dated within three days (72 hours) of your flight departure.”
Jetblue does not allow passengers to fly if their due date is within seven days of the flight unless the passenger has been cleared by a doctor. The doctor certification needs to include that the expected due date is after the date of the flight.
Southwest Airlines “recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy” but doesn’t require a doctor’s note. The airline says it would not seat pregnant women in an emergency exit row “depending on their physical condition, strength, and agility.”
But as pointed out on The Points Guy blog, a pregnant woman flying close to the due date carries a risk because flight attendants are not trained to deliver babies. If a medical professional is not onboard, the expectant mother would have to wait for help until the plane could land.
It Wasn’t Immediately Clear What Location Would Be Listed on the Baby’s Birth Certificate
The newborn baby’s citizenship status was not immediately clear. According to Hansen’s TikTok video, the baby was born while the plane was over the Pacific Ocean.
According to the State Department, the child may not automatically be granted citizenship: “A U.S.-registered aircraft outside U.S. airspace is not considered to be part of U.S. territory. A child born on such an aircraft outside U.S. airspace does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of the place of birth.”
The location of the birth, which would be listed on the birth certificate, was also not immediately clear. If the plane was flying over United States territory at the time of the birth, the child’s certificate might list the county below. But a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson told The Washington Post “if a birth occurred en route, that is in a moving conveyance, the place of birth becomes where the newborn was first removed from the conveyance, or in this instance, the airplane.”
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