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It's a common myth that if you're born on an airplane, or mid-flight, you get free flights for life from whatever company is running the flight.

Example of a claim - just pertaining to one company, but the article makes it seem common place.

Is this true, in general?

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anecdotally - of two babies born on my dad's plane when he flew for a Scottish airline, neither have free flights for life. It wasn't even considered. –  Rory Alsop Feb 8 '12 at 9:52
    
I remember it being mentioned in some show on Discovery Channel or the like about air planes - you don't get free flights for life. –  ThePiachu Feb 8 '12 at 21:26
    
However if you are born in other unusual places you might get other benefits. –  DJClayworth May 9 '12 at 17:17
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1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

According to Snopes the answer is NO:

Snopes

Barbara Mikkelson (who has contacted several airlines to get to the bottom of this) speculates:

... the origin of the "lifetime pass" legend came about as a fanciful explanation for why some airlines refuse passage to expectant women.



And there are indeed special regulations for pregnant women, e.g.

British Airways

Whilst pregnancy is not a “medical condition”, flying whilst pregnant is a frequently raised topic.

Normally pregnancy is a happy event for all concerned but delivery in flight it is not without risks to the mother and baby. For this reason British Airways, along with many airlines, refuses to carry women in the latter stages of pregnancy, typically after 36 weeks for single pregnancies, 32 weeks for multiple.


Civil Aviation Authority

Delivery in flight, or diversion in flight to a location that may not have high quality obstetric services, is undesirable.

For this reason, most airlines do not allow travel after 36 weeks for a single pregnancy and after 32 weeks for a multiple pregnancy.


Korean Airlines

Pregnancy



IATA (International Air Transport Association), which represents some 240 airlines, has a 398 pages thick Standard's Manual (from December 2011), but there is no mention of free flights for new-borns.

IATA Medical Guidelines for pregnancy:

Pregnancy


I also browsed through several airline's webpages and while they all do mention special rules for pregnant women, neither says anything about a "bonus" when you deliver in-flight.


On the contrary some airlines even refuse to carry "highly" pregnant women (see above).



But, as the link in the question shows, reported cases do exist:

A baby boy who made a surprise arrival on board an AirAsia flight this week will be given free flights for life with the budget carrier, as will his mother.
...

"To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to present both mother and child with free flights for life," said AirAsia's director of operations Moses Devanayagam.

[Source]


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I wonder the AirAsia case is a case of a self-fufilling myth - something that was originally false, but since became true because it was widely known. –  Andrew Grimm Mar 16 '12 at 12:31
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