01 July, 2017
She was 36 weeks pregnant, and suddenly started feeling bad. Was that a contraction? She was 30 weeks pregnant when boarded the flight from Saudi Arabia to Kochi in India. Surely she couldn't be going into labor now.
"The Spirit crew was very attentive and took care of me throughout the flight", Penton said in a Spirit press release.
Roughly 15 minutes into the flight, Penton realised that she was entering labour and informed flight attendants who were able to to find a paediatrician and nurse who were also on the flight. "As a mother of four myself, I kept looking over at her and thinking, 'Oh my goodness, that mother is about to pop". The pilots re-routed the plane to New Orleans to make an emergency landing but Ms Penton's water had already broken. Ready or not, her third child was on his way. "There was no time to prepare or land or do anything", Penton told CNN.
Airline spokesman Paul Berry said mid-flight births are rare. He weighed 7 pounds and measured 19.5 inches.
"She was like, 'I can't wait".
'It was all quiet for about 20 minutes until you heard a baby crying, and then you heard people cheering and applauding. People on the plane were pretty good about it. ...
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"I don't think there has been a baby birth on a plane before so this is very special", the woman can be heard saying in the video.
The Spirit crew took swift steps to divert the flight to New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport.
"But our flight attendants are trained to handle medical emergencies in flight and they have access to doctors on the ground via inflight communication", he said. Spirit has no such policy, and instead leaves the choice up to individuals.
Cristina Penton and her two teenage children were on their way to the Valley for vacation when she went into labor a month before her due date.
Representatives from Spirit met with Penton and the baby on Tuesday to offer them gifts, including free flights for Christoph and a guest on any flight that flies on his birthday for life. Her husband, who drove to meet her in New Orleans, later said "I told you so", after warning her not to take the trip. "We were just all along for the ride!"
Cristina Penton holds her newborn.