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This Baby Was Born on a PAL Flight From Dubai to Manila

The baby’s name? Ali. Arabic for 'elevated' or 'most high.'
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Flight attendants are trained to handle anything, from shepherding passengers to emergency landings, as anything can happen midflight—like delivering a baby.

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Philippine Airlines flight attendants aboard repatriation flight PR659 from Dubai to Manila got a crash course in childbirth on June 6 when a passenger went into labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy 38,000 feet above sea level.

The baby’s name?

Ali. Arabic for “elevated” or “most high,” a meaningful name for a miraculous birth story.

With no doctors on board, the crew, headed by flight purser Daisy Castellano, was tasked with the momentous responsibility of delivering a baby on board a plane, something most flight attendants never experience in their entire careers. Second officer Fidel Guzman Ala posted his experience online, saying it was “one of the, if not the most, stressful and yet fulfilling experiences in my life.”  

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“I had to call one through radio satellite phone and very carefully relay all those medical terms to the cabin attendants delivering the baby. To me, that felt a tad terrifying. One misinterpretation of the doctor's instructions would spell out a person's doom or destiny,” wrote Ala.

“I had to ask and re-ask the doctor on the line if I understood him correctly. I now recognize the efforts of those who went through medical school. Who would have thought that in my lifetime, I would have to relay the step by step procedure and instructions for cutting an umbilical cord?? I had to draw a diagram and re-ask the doctor again and again just to be sure,” Ala shared.

After the baby was born, the flight deck headed by captain Mark Palomares landed the plane at the nearest airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand, to ensure the mother and child could get immediate medical attention.

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Called a “miracle amidst this world's current misery,” little Ali will have a memorable story to tell when he grows up.

Now that’s a flight to remember.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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