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A woman gives birth on a Spirit flight and family gets rewarded

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A Spirit Airlines flight was diverted to New Orleans last week when a pregnant passenger went into labor.
(Spirit Airlines)

When a pregnant passenger gave birth on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Dallas/Fort Worth last week it was big news for several reasons.

First, the passenger, Cristina Penton, gave birth on a Spirit Airlines plane, which is known to have the most cramped seats of any airline. Luckily for Penton, she had booked a “big front seat,” which has about seven inches more legroom than the typical Spirit coach seat.

“We were still really high off the ground and I knew I was not going to make it,” Penton told a television crew afterward.

Also, the passengers in the cabin happened to include a pediatrician and a nurse who aided the flight attendants — who receive training in handling medical emergencies — with the birth. The flight was diverted to New Orleans but the baby was born in the cabin, a 7-pound boy named Christoph Carsten Lezcano.

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Lastly, the Florida-based carrier with a penny-pinching reputation for charging fees for almost every onboard amenity, is responding to the birth with some uncharacteristic generosity: Spirit has offered free flights to the baby’s immediate family every year on his birthday for the next 21 years.

The airline serves the continental United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Spirit spokesman Paul Berry said the free flights won’t be a standing offer for any future passengers who give birth on a Spirit plane.

“This was part of a celebration of the first time it took place on a Spirit plane,” he said.

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.


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