American Flight Diverts To Iceland Due To Childbirth

American Flight Diverts To Iceland Due To Childbirth

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While it’s not uncommon to see flights divert for an onboard medical issue, it’s not everyday you see a flight divert because a passenger goes into labor.

American flight from London to Chicago diverts to Iceland

Today’s American Airlines flight AA87 was supposed to operate nonstop from London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD). The flight is operated by a roughly five year old Boeing 787-9, with the registration code N823AN. The flight was scheduled to depart at 11AM and arrive at 2PM, but that’s not quite how it played out.

The Dreamliner flight was first delayed by around 80 minutes on departure, due to a late arriving aircraft. Even when the plane finally took off, things didn’t go quite as planned.

A passenger onboard the flight allegedly went into labor, leading to a diversion to Keflavik, Iceland (KEF). The plane ended up operating a 2hr21min flight from London to Keflavik, where it arrived at 2:05PM local time.

An American Airlines flight diverted to Iceland

It’s not often you look at the notes for a flight, and see the following:

“LNDG AT KEF ETA1400RMKS PASSENGER IN ACTIVE LABOR”

The passenger in labor was then removed from the flight, and presumably after a refueling, the plane continued. The Boeing 787 once again departed at 3:41PM local time, just over 95 minutes after it arrived. Fortunately the crew didn’t time out, so this didn’t turn into a major issue.

The plane is currently enroute to Chicago, where it’s due to arrive at 5:15PM, 3hr15min behind schedule.

An American Airlines 787 diverted to Iceland

I haven’t seen any reports from passengers as to how exactly the situation was handled. I’m not sure if the pregnant passenger ended up giving birth onboard, or if the birth only happened on the ground in Iceland. Here’s to hoping for a healthy baby!

Coincidentally, the same flight from London to Chicago also diverted to Keflavik on October 14, just over a week ago. That was due to an electrical issue onboard, and that was a much bigger operational mess, as passengers ended up getting stranded.

Rules around flying while pregnant

While people giving birth on a plane is rare, it’s not totally unheard of. Many are curious how that’s possible, given the rules airlines have in place.

American Airlines’ policy is that if you’re pregnant and your due date is within four weeks of your flight, you must provide a doctor’s certificate stating that you have been recently examined and are fit to fly. Of course even that isn’t going to totally prevent situations like this:

  • Obviously births can happen prematurely, including four or more weeks before the due date
  • Airlines generally use an honor system for how far you are from your due date, so I imagine some passengers aren’t necessarily truthful there
  • I also imagine some people may fake these notes, especially if they have a reason they want to travel somewhere else to give birth

I’m not sure which of the above scenarios explained this situation, though hopefully everything went as smoothly as it could, given the circumstances.

Bottom line

An American Airlines Boeing 787 flying from London to Chicago today diverted to Iceland, as a passenger went into labor. The passenger ended up being taken off the plane there, and after under two hours on the ground, the flight continued. The plane is now expected to land in Chicago a bit over three hours behind schedule.

Are any OMAAT readers on this American Airlines flight? If so, can you shed some light on how this all went down?

Conversations (29)
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  1. foo blah Guest

    Important question... Did the baby get FF miles??

  2. Lieflat19 Member

    Hopefully they offloaded her before the baby popped out...

  3. Russ Guest

    So does the baby get Icelandic citizenship?

    1. Robert Guest

      I'd love to hear more about birth rules/laws in this case and in case of an in-air birth

    2. Alan Gold

      I can speak with respect to US law as I was a former consular officer. In the case of an in-air birth, the newborn is automatically a US citizen if the birth occurs when the aircraft (or even a space craft) is over US airspace. This is true even when the flight does not include a US city (for example a Mexico to Canada flight).
      Many European countries do not grant citizenship by birth. Citizenship depends upon the status of the parents.

    3. Lieflat19 Member

      US- try to capture every person possible to continue paying taxes the rest of their life for a government that does nothing for them.

    4. foo Guest

      LOL! Nothing? You mean like airports, safe airspace, highways, hospitals, defence, social security, etc. etc. etc.
      Quit drinking the KoolAid, LieFat.

    5. Lieflat19 Member

      no. iceland doesn't give birthright citizenship. the child will take whatever citizenship of the parent if it was born in Iceland. If it was onboard it will be considered a US citizen... Hopefully they offloaded her before the baby popped out.

  4. TravelTechGoddess Guest

    I was on this flight and the crew and passengers all handled this with class and kindness. A passenger who was a doctor came forward and made the recommendation to get the woman in labor to a hospital ASAP and we were all informed by the captain what was happening without revealing any personal details of the patient or Doctor.
    Mom was not far enough along to have been under travel restrictions (so stop...

    I was on this flight and the crew and passengers all handled this with class and kindness. A passenger who was a doctor came forward and made the recommendation to get the woman in labor to a hospital ASAP and we were all informed by the captain what was happening without revealing any personal details of the patient or Doctor.
    Mom was not far enough along to have been under travel restrictions (so stop with the judgy statements), which makes this even more critical that she went into labor. Can't say why, there was some turbulence, at one point enough to shake some of my drink out of it's glass but no worse than potholes in Chicago roads.
    I have to give it to the captain, flight attendants and passengers, everyone was patient, caring and no one acted out as often happens on flights with delays.
    Praying for baby and mom to hold off until she is far enough along to have a healthy and uneventful birth. Not sure if she will be fit to travel but having spent a number of days in Iceland in the previous week, it's not a bad place to get stuck.

    1. Alan Gold

      Anchor babies do not work in the US as the child is unable to sponsor a parent until they turn 21. There are many US citizen children in Mexico as a result of the parent being deported and not wanting to leave the child behind.

    2. Lieflat19 Member

      a lot of the time it has nothing to do with the parents. a lot of parents just want their kids to be us citizens...

    3. foo lbah Guest

      Who would want to "anchor" in the US?
      We are rapidly turning into a fascist banana republic at the hands of the Republicans.
      US citizens will be attempting to "anchor" their kids outside the US soon, if not already.

  5. Deejay Guest

    she was extremely premature and was passed fit to fly before boarding, a Dr onboard and staff handled it brilliantly, the lady was met by paramedics and safely evacuated, in the hope they could stop her contractions and giving birth so early. It is not uncommon for ladies to fly in the early stages of pregnancy, this young lady was unfortunately caught up in a turn of events that was unlikely to have been foreseen....

    she was extremely premature and was passed fit to fly before boarding, a Dr onboard and staff handled it brilliantly, the lady was met by paramedics and safely evacuated, in the hope they could stop her contractions and giving birth so early. It is not uncommon for ladies to fly in the early stages of pregnancy, this young lady was unfortunately caught up in a turn of events that was unlikely to have been foreseen. everyone on the flight wishes her well, we were all able to go about our normal lives afterwards.

  6. Randy Gold

    Wonder how they handle to Birth Certificate? Would the baby be considered born in the UK since that was the departure point or if the baby wasn't born until after landing - then likely Iceland?

    Seems like AA is due some compensation if the person lied on the 4 week certification.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I'm sure @TravelinWilly will have an answer for you because you're asking the question that literally nobody answered.

  7. Ben Guest

    How did you get the remarks?

    1. freeman Guest

      event not depending from the airline
      no free lunch this time

  8. Stephen Morrissey Guest

    Stupid. Pregnant Woman. Traveling. At risk
    Are you kidding me.
    No wonder Trump got in office.
    Same brains..

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      You know nothing about the circumstances of this episode.

      Sounds like the real issue, for you, is that you really don’t like women.

      Consider getting help.

    2. Alan Gold

      How in any way does this have anything to do with politics? For all we know she may have been traveling on her doctor's orders.

  9. LEo Diamond

    No US Citizenship for this sad child now, provided if the parents aren't American.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Thank you for answering the question that literally nobody asked.

    2. Donato Guest

      Actually TravelinWilly simply stated what is obvious to those of us aware of such ruses. I have seen and heard of such travelbefore.

    3. Samo Guest

      Duh, they were travelling from Europe. Why would they want a speculative US citizenship for their child?

  10. STEFFL Member

    Developed countries hav things like an Impfpass (Vaccine Pass) or the following for pregnant women . . .
    https://dewiki-de.translate.goog/Lexikon/Mutterpass?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=de&_x_tr_pto=wapp

  11. betterbub Gold

    Man all I can say is that I hope she had a really good reason to fly

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

TravelinWilly Diamond

Thank you for answering the question that literally nobody asked.

6
TravelinWilly Diamond

You know nothing about the circumstances of this episode. Sounds like the real issue, for you, is that you really don’t like women. Consider getting help.

4
Stephen Morrissey Guest

Stupid. Pregnant Woman. Traveling. At risk Are you kidding me. No wonder Trump got in office. Same brains..

3
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