CAL: Rules followed

Cayman Airways employees followed the rules concerning its travel policy when checking in a pregnant woman who later gave birth on the plane, the airline asserted.

Cayman Airways

Cayman Airways followed its travel policy regarding pregnant passengers. Photo: File

Shellesha Woodstock gave birth on board the Cayman Airways flight on 2 October after her water broke early the previous morning.

A valid doctor’s letter allowing Ms Woodstock to travel was presented when she checked in on 2 October for a flight to Kingston, said a Cayman Airways statement.

A recent statement from the Health Services Authority says that Ms Woodstock did not travel on the date as agreed and specified on the medical certificate.

However, the Caymanian Compass has seen the signed doctor’s letter, dated 1 October, giving Ms Woodstock permission to travel. The document does not stipulate dates on which travel is good for, nor is there an expiration date printed on the letter.

Ms Woodstock was given the letter when she went to Cayman Islands Hospital on Monday 1 October after her water broke that morning. When she did not make the Monday afternoon flight on Air Jamaica, she spent the night back at the hospital and then she checked in for the 6.45am flight with Cayman Airways on the Tuesday morning of 2 October.

The signed doctor’s letter, from the Public Health Department CIHSA, dated 1 October, 2007 certifies that Shellesha Woodstock ‘is pregnant and has been under our care. She is 29 weeks two days pregnant and in good physical condition.

‘She is in a fit state to travel by air,’ it ends, and is signed by the obstetrician Gilbertha Alexander.

Cayman Airways also noted its general policy with regard to taking pregnant passengers, stating it complied fully with this.

The airline operates under a Civil Aviation approved operations manual.

In this manual, the policy regarding carriage of pregnant passengers reads, ‘Cayman Airways will accept pregnant passengers up to a maximum of eight months (32 weeks). Thereafter further travel will be accepted by the company only by the presentation of a valid doctor’s certificate approving the individual for air travel. The certificate must include the stage of pregnancy, name of doctor, dated and signed.’

This policy is similar to that of American Airlines where for international travel or any flights over the water, travel is not advised within 30 days of the due date, unless examined by an obstetrician within 48 hours of outbound departure and certified in writing as medically stable for flight.

Continental Airlines’ policy requires a doctor’s certificate within seven days of anticipated delivery.

Cayman Airways says it is proud of its crew who acted with urgency and professionalism when they realised that Ms Woodstock was going into labour.