Mom gives birth aboard Phoenix-bound Spirit airplane

A family on vacation got a surprise as a mom gave birth on a plane heading to Phoenix.

A mom on her way to Phoenix from Florida ended up going into labor while 30,000 feet in the air.

Cristina Penton and her two teenage children were on their way to the Valley for vacation when she went into labor a month before her due date.

The Spirit Airlines plane diverted to New Orleans but by the time they landed, the baby had arrived.

“Within 10-15 minutes of takeoff, I felt something wasn't fine,” Penton said. “The contractions came every five minutes and they started coming pretty regularly."

Once the crew realized Penton was going into labor, they asked for any medical professionals on board.

A pediatrician stepped in to help while a fellow passenger captured the delivery on video.

"He just popped out, literally, so we just kind of, like, caught him,” said nurse Rhondula Green, who capped off the newborn’s quick delivery by tying up the baby’s umbilical cord.

Christoph Carsten Lezcano is a healthy 7-pound baby boy.

“It was scary and exciting at the same time,” said Lulu, Penton’s daughter.

Christina said her husband, who didn't travel with the family, is relieved the baby is OK, but he did tell his wife "I told you so" for traveling at 36 weeks.

“He told me, 'You're pushing it, you're doing it last-minute and maybe you shouldn't,'" Penton said. "But then again, stubborn, so I figured, no, no, we can handle this."

Mom and baby are still recovering at a hospital in New Orleans.

Spirit gave the family a pretty amazing baby gift: Free flights for the next 21 years.

Plus, Christof and a guest can fly free every year on his birthday for life.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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