The Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur returned to its gate in King Abdulaziz airport, Jeddah after the panicked woman alerted cabin crew that she had forgotten to bring her child.
A video of the pilot requesting Air Traffic Control in Arabic and English for permission to return has gone viral on social media.
“May God be with us. Can we come back or what?” he is heard asking.
One of the surprised controllers can then be heard telling a colleague: “This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.”
He then adds: “OK, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!”
The Gulf News reported that the bizarre incident took place over the weekend, implying that the plane was already in the air. However, some reports have suggested that the flight had not yet taken off, and the sequence of events is unclear from the video.
The story ended happily, with the mother and baby reunited.
The circumstances that led to her forgetting the baby are not known, but it would not be the first high-profile story of a parent unwittingly leaving a child behind.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha had a heart-stopping moment in 2012 when they realised they had left a Buckinghamshire pub without their daughter Nancy, 8.
After meeting friends at the pub, they left in separate cars, only to realise at their destination that Nancy was not in either of them.
When the prime minister’s wife rushed back distraught to the venue, she found her daughter safe and well and helping the staff.
Watch the video here: