There’s a lot to remember when boarding a plane. Tickets? Check. Phone off? Check. Baby? Oh crap!

A Saudi plane was forced to return to an airport on Monday after a mother accidentally left her baby at the gate. The frantic woman reportedly only realised her blunder when the Malaysian-bound flight was on its way.

According to a Gulf News report, the infant had been left near the boarding gate at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport in Kuala Lumpur. On noticing her colossal mistake, the mother alerted cabin crew and demanded the plane be turned around.

When the pilot requested permission to return to the gate, the air traffic controller was understandably confused. While planes don’t make U-turns to collect forgotten bags or late passengers, there was no protocol for a left-behind baby.

saudi-arabian-airForgotten baby baffles air controllers

Audio of the conversation has been posted on YouTube.

The pilot is heard asking: “May God be with us. Can we come back or what?”

A controller relays the bizarre incident to a colleague: “This flight is requesting to come back… a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.”

The controller then checks he has heard correctly.

“We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight,” the pilot said.

“Ok, head back to the gate,” the controller said. “This is totally a new one for us!”

Five-year-old girl found wandering alone at airport

It is unclear how the mother managed to forget her baby, however, it’s not the first time a child has accidentally been left at an airport.

A five-year-old girl was found wandering alone in a German terminal last year after her parents left without her. The family had returned from a holiday and were heading home from the Stuttgart airport in separate cars. Police said each parent had mistakenly believed the girl had gone with the other.

Have you ever forgotten a child?

While it’s easy to point the finger, the-case-of-the-forgotten-child is not uncommon. In fact, this Mum Central writer was left behind as a child. Twice. Once as a five-month-old in a car seat at church. Somehow, both parents (driving separate cars) had assumed the other was taking her home. Red-faced Dad was sent back to retrieve his daughter from some elderly parishioners.

The second time she was left on the side of a busy road after jumping out of the car to post a letter. Job done, the 9-year-old opened the back car door but then closed it after deciding to get in the front seat instead. Her mother, thinking she was safely in, headed off on the ten-minute drive to school. Only to arrive and find her daughter was missing. They were reunited half an hour later (Really Mum, it took you that long to retrieve me?). On-going therapy is helping heal the sense of abandonment, but the scars of being left behind run deep. (Still love you Mum xx).

The premise behind Christmas classic Home Alone is every parent’s worrying but relatable nightmare. Do you have a story about forgetting a kid?

Author

Jillian Berry is the exhausted mother of four spirited daughters. Once a journo and editor, she now enjoys torturing her children with zucchini. When she’s not searching for her phone charger, she can be found trying to remember her password, which she only reset yesterday. She fantasizes about escaping to a remote island with her Kindle and a giant jar of Nutella. She’s also a (provisional) psychologist who’d love to make the world a better place, if only she could find the energy.

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