In 1952, while flying from Hong Kong to Seattle, Lilly Chin gave birth to a daughter, Sherry, on a DC4 over the Aleutian Islands. As the first baby in the history of flight born on an airplane, Sherry was promised a free flight to anywhere in the world when she reached adulthood.
Lilly said that during the flight she and her 22-month-old daughter Pearl were so sick they couldn’t eat or drink, and that “Sherry wanted out because she was hungry and thirsty.” Sherry was born a month premature, and when mother and daughters were taken to a Seattle hospital on landing, Lilly was woefully unprepared to care for a new infant. The doctors and nurses were more than happy to supply everything she needed.
Lilly Chin in 1975 owned the Hong Kong Cafe in Hermiston. Sherry graduated that year from the University of Oregon, where she majored in languages. And in May of 1975, she appeared before a CP Air ticket agent in Vancouver, B.C., with a 22-year-old newspaper article to claim her promised gift. Lilly said they were “wined and dined and treated like celebrities” by airline officials.
Fluent in Japanese, several dialects of Chinese and Spanish, Sherry chose to fly to Hong Kong. She planned to scope out job prospects with a goal of interpreting or teaching English in Taiwan.