The news of the birth of a baby girl on a Cebu Pacific Airlines flight en route to the Philippines from Dubai has gone viral after a fellow passenger narrated the experience through a Facebook post. The post made on 14 August has been widely shared and people are showering blessings on the premature baby.
The lucky girl - referred to as Haven by the airlines - born to a Philippine mother has received "one million GetGo points" from the airlines as a birthday gift, apparently sufficient to last a lifetime. Although such incidents of childbirths during flights have happened in the past, Cebu Pacific said it was a first for the airlines and thus, were in a celebratory mood.
The airlines said in a statement earlier that "Haven" was born approximately four hours after the departure of flight 5J015 from the Dubai International Airport last Sunday (14 August). Their cabin crew, along with two registered nurses, who were travelling on the same flight, assisted with the delivery.
Co-passenger Missy Berberabe Umandal said in her Facebook post that the woman, who was due to deliver in October, suddenly started having contractions and the flight attendants were seen panicking. "For once in my life, I saw flight attendants, who are meant to always maintain their poise and composure, panic ever so slightly," the woman wrote in the post that was shared over 4,000 times.
She then added: "We only heard one semi-loud screech, and a few seconds later, there were tinier, cute screeches, and it was when we knew the baby was born. Luckily, she only had to push ONCE."
The flight was then diverted to Hyderabad, India, where it made an emergency landing to provide medical assistance to the mother and baby. The diversion led to a delay, but none of the passengers were complaining, wrote Umandal, noting: "Flight was delayed once again (what was supposed to be a 9-hour flight became roughly 18 hours), but no complaints... everyone in that plane was blessed."
"We are happy that both mother and daughter are doing well, and would like to commend our flight and cabin crew for handling the situation with utmost professionalism and efficiency. We also express our sincerest gratitude to the two volunteer nurses who helped ensure the baby's safe delivery," Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of Cebu Pacific Airlines, said in the statement.
He added that the GetGo points awarded to the little girl could be used for her as well as her family and would not have any expiry.