Coins thrown into plane engine by elderly passenger for 'luck'

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  • Tom Otley

    Coins thrown into plane engine by elderly passenger for ‘luck’

    A superstitious elderly passenger delayed a flight in Shanghai after throwing coins at the engine for good luck, a Chinese airline has confirmed.


    This could turn into an interesting thread – what other good luck gestures have been seen when boarding an aircraft?

    I have seen people kissing the fuselage before boarding & pilots have been known to kick the tyres on the pre flight walk round..


    I have seen people touch the outside of the aircraft – in the jetty side before entering the aircraft. Not quite as intimate as kissing Martyn – never seen that.


    I’ve seen passengers kneel and have a wee pray to themselves, rare but oddly off putting.
    And I’m sure we’ve all seen somebody cross themselves, and not just during turbulence.

    Edit–Oh, and just to say, the original story brought a wee smile to my coupon, as this is a classic clash of tradition and modernity, and modernity lost!



    I’m guilty of touching the fuselage just before boarding. Don’t remember when or even why I started to do it!

    Remember one CY flight from LHR where some speedy taxiing and immediate takeoff prompted mass crossing by the “locals” on board. As there were two Greek Orthodox churchmen amongst the passengers, we considered it would be the safest flight we’d ever taken……


    On a LH flight to Frankfurt that I was on, an elderly female passenger asked a crew member to give the pilot a St Christopher to hang on the ‘gear knob’ for safe passage. Cue much laughter all round but crew member did as asked. On landing and before leaving the plane it was handed back to the passenger by the pilot who smiled and thanked her. It was just a little magical moment that made the flight special.


    In regions where there are many believers I often get the comment ‘God Bless your flight’ to which I always reply ‘God Bless the captain’ since safety is up to him!


    On short haul (and some long-haul airlines) it is common for persons seated at the back of the plane to put their hand baggage in the front lockers as soon as they get on. On a recent regional flight in the Philippines from Cebu to Manila I asked the stewardess why she allowed this. She said with the utmost certainty, ‘most of our passengers are very superstitious and religious, and if they cannot sit near the passenger door, they want their bags to have a better chance of getting off before them’. It is difficult to argue against such a belief.


    @ JohnnyG ,
    Your St Christopher story reminded me of a flight many years ago.
    Back in the day, and bored with Scottish football, me and a few friends actively followed Sunderland, instigated by a friend that was a dye in the wool, born and bred black cat.

    When we travelled down to Roker Park, a cuddly toy crossed eyed black cat sat on the dashboard as we drove south, as our lucky charm.

    5 of us decided to head down to Southend for an away game, or 6 if you count the cat. On boarding the Air UK 146 at EDI we requested that our lucky charm sit up front, the stewardess immediately stuck in the cupboard.
    “You can’t stick him in a cupboard, he won’t see where he’s going” one of us loudly exclaimed.
    On hearing the shriek of horror, the captain popped his head out the cockpit. Confessing to being a big Arsenal fan, he understood the plight of our lucky cat and happily placed it at the very front of the cockpit window, where it stayed until we landed at Stanstead.

    Still got the photographs of us all having our pictures taken with our lucky mascot and our Gooner captain somewhere high over England.

    Oh, and he couldn’t have liked the 30,000 view, we lost 2-0

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