LOS ANGELES (NBC/KNBC/KPNX) — A Southwest Airlines flight made an unexpected arrival at LAX, with one more passenger on board. The pilot had to divert because a baby could not wait for the scheduled landing. Any parent knows it can be a tough gig to travel with kids in the first place. But add in child labor, and you’ve got the story of one woman’s trip from San Francisco bound for Phoenix on Tuesday morning.
“Oh wow! That’s, that’s amazing,” said Samantha Richard, who was flying to Philadelphia.
When we arrived to LAX where the plane had been diverted, few had heard the news, but you could say the story was taxiing around the terminal.
“I think that’s crazy because somebody to give birth on the plane?” said Richard.
Just minutes after the 6:30 a.m. flight was airborne, something else was born.
“How much space did they have to like give birth to the baby and then hold the baby while the plane lands? I mean, that’s a lot; that’s really crazy,” said Richard.
What we’ve learned so far is that mom and baby were in a center seat– in coach — so you can imagine leg room might have been a problem. We found this Tweet about the birth, from Charlie Reeve, a coach at the University of Texas San Antonio who said: “So a lady just delivered a baby midflight to Phoenix. That was a first for me.” Our NBC station in Phoenix caught up with him when the delayed flight finally landed.
“Once she had it, then the pilot came over the loud speaker and said we were turning around and going back to LA,” said Reeve.
Some passengers commented on social media that they didn’t realize what was happening because there happened to be other crying babies on the flight. Reeve says flight attendants kept calm, as the special delivery made its way on board.
“I know at one point they asked for scissors to cut the umbilical cord and so, I’m just glad everything turned out OK,” said Reeve.
In a statement from Southwest, the airline said an ER nurse and doctor who were aboard assisted the family and the flight crew until paramedics arrived to take the new family to the hospital. The remaining 111 customers continued to Phoenix on a new aircraft — with “an exciting story to tell.”
“It’s not something you expect to see but it looked like a healthy baby,” said Reeve.
The mother and baby are doing well at an LA hospital. They will soon make their way back to Phoenix.