Not everyone enjoys flying but sometimes there’s really no choice but to get on a plane.
That’s why lots of passengers have developed their own good luck rituals as they step into the aircraft. It could be something as simple as a short prayer or placing one’s hand at the body of the aircraft as one boards.
An airplane is a complicated piece of machinery so most passengers know enough not to do anything that will mess with the plane’s operation as their own safety is also at stake. But two female passengers who were supposed to get on a domestic flight from Jinan, Shandong province to Chengdu, Sichuan, apparently did not get that memo and each threw a 1 yuan coin at the engine of the plane they were boarding at Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport as good luck.
The result, as expected, was anything but. Passengers reported the two women and they were removed from the Lucky Air flight after admitting what they did. But the damage had already been done, figuratively speaking.
The incident delayed flight 8L9616 for two hours and affected all 260 passengers on the plane.
According to Lucky Air, the passengers threw the coins through the narrow gap between the boarding bridge and the plane in the hopes of a safe flight. There was no confirmation if both were traveling together.
A member of the airline staff noticed what the passengers did and alerted airport police who detained the pair. A pre-flight check discovered the coins on the ground near the front of the plane.
The pilot decided to push through with the flight since the coins were far away from the engine, an airline spokesperson said. The flight finally took off at 10:02 pm local time on Sunday and safely arrived at Chengdu despite being delayed by two hours.
Another passenger on the plane told video news site Pear that the two women were removed by a pair of uniformed police officers after the incident was announced.
“All the other passengers were speechless. We didn’t think something like this could actually happen,” she said. “They looked like they were in their mid-20s.”
A professor at the Civil Aviation University of China was quoted by China Daily as saying that an aircraft’s engines would be severely damaged or even destroyed if it sucked in a coin.
“The engine could tremble, lose speed and even stop in mid-air if a coin were sucked into its core,” he said. “That would put all the passengers on board at great risk.”
Unfortunately, this not the first time something like this has happened.
Just last month, a 28-year-old man admitted to throwing two 1-yuan coins at another Lucky Air plane in Anqing, Anhui province and caused the flight to be canceled. 162 passengers were affected and cost the airline nearly 140,000 yuan. The man was detained for seven days because of the incident.
In June 2017, a China Southern Airlines flight at Shanghai Pudong Airport was similarly affected when an 80-year-old woman threw her change praying for a safe flight. It caused a five-hour delay and one million yuan in damages although the woman wasn’t charged because of her age.
Later that same year, a 76-year-old woman also flung several coins into the engine of a Lucky Air flight which was also bound for Kunming from Anqing. Although detained, the woman wasn’t charged.
Lucky Air has constantly reminded passengers to follow civil aviation laws and regulations and avoid actions that could affect the safety of passengers.
“Not only does tossing coins not give you good luck, it will endanger aviation safety and land you in detention. You could be fined and prosecuted,” the airline warned.
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