Baby born on flight can fly free on birthday for life

MIAMI -- A baby born mid-flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas Saturday night is now continuing his journey west with his family, only this time by car, CBS Miami reports.

The plane was diverted to New Orleans after his mom went into labor four weeks ahead of schedule and delivered her baby on a Spirit Airlines flight Saturday night.

Cristina Penton showed off baby Christoph after they were released from a hospital in New Orleans.

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

A fellow passenger recorded the delivery, which went very quickly. The Spirit crew asked if any medical professionals were on board.

A pediatrician came to help, and nurse Rhondula Green helped tie up the baby's umbilical cord.

"He just popped out, literally, so we just kind of like caught him," said Green.

Penton was traveling with her two pre-teen children from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas on their way to Arizona for vacation.

"It was scary and exciting at the same time," said Penton's daughter Lulu.

Penton said her husband, who didn't travel with the family, was relieved to hear the baby is OK, but 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. But then again, stubborn, so I figured, no, no, we can handle this," said Penton.

Spirit Airlines gave the family gifts for the baby, plus a special present -- free flights on his birthday, for life.

Baby Christoph weighed in at 7 pounds and measured 19 and a half inches. He is healthy, but because the baby's immune system is still so new, they are now continuing their trip to Phoenix by car instead of plane to try to avoid germs.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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