Picture: @jetairways/Twitter

A baby has been given free airline tickets for life after his mother gave birth prematurely at 35 000ft.

Jet Airways said it was the first birth on one of their aircraft and they will offer the boy life-long complimentary travel.

Jose Cicymol was 30 weeks pregnant when she went into labour on the Boeing 737 from Saudi Arabia to Kochi in India.

The crew declared a medical emergency five hours into the journey and the baby was born 45 minutes later with the help of a nurse who was among the 162 passengers.

The plane touched down in Mumbai 25 minutes later and the mother and her baby, who has not yet been named, were taken to hospital where both were said to be doing well.

The flight continued to Kochi, where it arrived two and a half hours behind schedule.

The airline allows women who are up to 38 weeks pregnant to travel.