A Phoenix woman gave birth on a Spirit Airlines flight on Saturday.
Cristina Penton, who was 36 weeks pregnant, went into labor shortly after takeoff on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas/Fort Worth, according to the airline.
The flight was diverted to New Orleans but Penton had the baby, a 7-pound boy named Christoph Carsten Lezcano, before the plane landed.
“He wanted to have an early arrival,” Spirit spokesman Paul Berry said at a news conference at Ochsner Medical Center in Kenner, La., Tuesday morning.
The airline says a pediatrician and a nurse on board helped the flight attendants with the delivery.
Penton, speaking at the news conference, said she was in Fort Lauderdale to pick up her two other children and bring them to Phoenix when she started feeling ill. She said she did not have complications with her other pregnancies so she wasn’t worried about flying at 36 weeks. She paid extra for one of Spirit’s “big front seats” so they would be comfortable.
Airline policies differ on how late in their terms pregnant passengers can travel.
Here are airlines’ recommendations for pregnant passengers
Southwest Airlines’ policy recommends against air travel beginning in the 38th week of pregnancy.
Spirit’s website states: “Women in their 8th month of pregnancy are urged to obtain an examination from her physician shortly before to confirm it is safe for them to travel.’’
It is not known if Penton talked to her doctor about flying.
“Within 10, 15 minutes of takeoff I felt like something was not fine,” Penton said, adding that contractions were coming every five minutes, then four minutes, then three minutes. She notified the crew. Her water broke about 50 minutes in and she delivered the baby within 10 minutes.
“It went really, really quick,” she said.
“This is what he wanted,” she said, nodding at the baby on her lap. “We were just all along for the…