born in the sky

If you’re born in the sky, what’s your nationality?

A baby was recently born on a Dubai-Manila flight this week and it’s not the first time such an incident has happened in the blue skies.

In June this year, a Boeing 777 plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a woman went into labour en route from Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, to New York’s JFK airport when it was forced to divert to London.

A woman who gave birth on a Jetstar flight in April this year has named her son after the airline. Australia’s Fairfax Media said the woman, Saw Ler Htu, gave birth during the flight from Singapore to Myanmar, with the help of the crew and three doctors on board the flight, and as way of thanks, named her child Saw Jet Star.

So this begs the question: what nationality is your baby if it’s born on a flight?And what happens when you give birth mid-air?

Beyond a likely emergency landing – because although giving birth on a plane sounds rare and unique, there’s the question of citizenship. According to the United Nations, a child born mid-flight is considered to have been born in the country that the airline is registered, but that doesn’t mean citizenship issues don’t arise.

But more importantly than citizenship, will your child get to travel free for life? That’s a common myth, and although certain babies have received such rewards, it’s not a given. In other words, don’t be boarding planes in the hopes that you’ll score a lifetime of expense free air travel for your child.

The child usually gets the nationality of the parents or the country where the plane is registered but in the rare case when a baby is born over US soil or in US waters it’s an entirely different case.

However, if you are born over the United States, in a foreign plane with foreign parents, you can still claim US citizenship.

In 1990, Shona’s heavily pregnant mother Debbie Owen, accompanied by four-year-old daughter Claire, was flying from Ghana, where she worked, to London on a British Airways flight.

She went into labour and her daughter’s passport now says this.