A woman threw coins into an airplane engine for ‘good luck’

Most people have been on at least one particularly nerve-wracking flight, where, once the plane touches safely down on the tarmac, the passengers break out into wild applause. Flying through the air in a massive metal tube isn’t always the most reassuring of life experiences, so it’s easy to understand why people have their little rituals to bring about good luck and show gratitude for a safe landing.

airplane landing photo
Getty Images | George Frey

However, one woman’s recent attempt at bringing her flight some goodwill before take-off had quite the opposite effect: It ended in a headache-inducing five-hour delay for all passengers.

On Tuesday, China Southern Airlines flight CZ380 was boarding over 100 passengers for its noon journey from Beijing to Guangzhou when passengers reported that an 80-year-old woman was flinging coins at the plane’s engine.

Shanghai police, who removed the woman from the tarmac, said that the woman had no prior criminal record or mental health issues. “The passenger. . .claimed she tossed coins as a prayer for a safe flight,” Shanghai police told CNN on Wednesday.

The rest of the passengers on the flight—nearly 150 in total—had to disembark from the aircraft, and the 12:40 p.m. flight was delayed for over five hours in total as staff inspected the airplane. It eventually took off shortly after 6:15 p.m.

One local Chinese newspaper, People’s Daily, shared pictures of the incident on social media:

During the inspection, staff reportedly found one coin inside the airplane’s engine, along with another eight scattered on the tarmac nearby. The plane and engine inspection was lengthy—and likely quite costly for the airline—but police let the woman go without filing charges.

With a burgeoning middle class in China and a growing number of citizens traveling abroad, Chinese airlines have seen several similar incidents take over headlines in recent years. Some passengers have been arrested for assaulting flight attendants, while others have caused commotion by opening emergency exit doors despite a lack of any actual emergency.

Ah, flying the friendly skies. Buckle up and get your pretzel snacks out, because there’s apparently always going to be some kind of incident to keep things interesting.


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