This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Have you ever wondered if babies born in the sky get free flights for life or what is the citizenship of a baby born on an airplane would be? The answers to both of these questions aren’t as straight-forward as you might hope, but read on to get some clues into how these situations are handled…

It is not very common for babies to be born while flying at 36,000 feet, but when it does happen it is generally a newsworthy event for a plane to land with one more passenger than it had when it took off. This week, a mom gave birth to a healthy baby on an Air France flight from Paris to New York before they could reach the ground at JFK. Luckily, there was a doctor on board to manage the situation until they could get the mama and baby some on-the-ground medical attention, and in this case, everything seems to have worked out just fine.

A common question that comes up when this happens (in addition to does the baby get free flights?) is what citizenship is a baby given when they are born on an airplane?

What citizenship would my baby have if she would have been born in the sky?

Citizenship status of a baby born on an airplane

The citizenship answer is actually a little complicated and depends on many factors. I’m far from a legal expert, but from what I found, usually, the baby will simply become a citizen of the same country as the mom (and/or dad) regardless of where they made their appearance. However, sometimes these airborne deliveries do have citizenship claims to the country whose airspace they were flying over when they were born, assuming that country grants citizenship based on being born within (or above) the borders.

There actually aren’t a ton of countries that operate in that manner, though notably, the United States is one of the countries that grants citizenship based on being born inside or within 12-nautical miles of the borders, including in the sky. This is also known as jus soli (right of the soil) citizenship and can come into play for babies who are born in the sky over select countries. You can check out some countries that grant citizenship based on where you are born here.

A baby born in the sky may alternatively end up being a citizen of the country where the aircraft is registered, though my layman’s reading points that being most likely to kick in as a fallback plan if the baby wouldn’t already have citizenship somewhere else based on the parents’ citizenship or the location of the plane when the baby made their arrival.

The citizenship of a baby born on a British Airways plane flying to an island would be…

How late into pregnancy can women fly

Airlines obviously don’t want to be in the labor and delivery business, so there are limits on how late into a pregnancy a mother is supposed to fly set by each individual airline. US airlines typically do not require any documentation or have travel restrictions for pregnant women until the last month of pregnancy, whereas many international airlines do require medical clearance starting at 28 weeks. Interestingly enough, an exception to that general rule is actually Air France, the airline where this most recent mother gave birth. Air France does not require medical clearance for pregnant women and permits flight until the 37th week of pregnancy.

Are there free flights for babies born in the sky

In terms of whether giving birth on a plane will score the baby free flights, that does sometimes happen, but it is not guaranteed. Understandably, airlines certainly don’t want to encourage pregnant women on the verge of labor to board a plane, so adding incentives to do so probably isn’t in their best interest.

While the place of birth on the birth certificate for a baby born in-flight will be in the air (that’s pretty cool), the citizenship will depend on where the birth took place, the citizenship status of the parents, and potentially the country where the plane is registered.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.