Airline Sues Passenger for Throwing ‘Good Luck’ Coins in Plane Engine

Feb 25, 2019

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Superstitious flyers, here’s a tip: if you’re looking to attract some good karma aboard your flight, don’t throw coins into the aircraft engine.

Chinese airline Lucky Air had an unlucky day when a passenger tossed coins into the plane engine “for good luck.” The airline is now suing that passenger, known only as Lu.

When airline staff found yuan coins on the tarmac by the plane’s left engine, they questioned passengers, and Lu confessed to throwing the coins. So all 162 passengers were deplaned and faced a day-long delay while the airline could execute a full-engine check. According to Lucky Air, the delay and check cost them about 140,000 yuan (approximately $21,000). Lu, who had tossed the coins while boarding the flight, was subsequently taken into custody and detained for seven days.

“The incident caused a direct economic loss of nearly 140,000 yuan,” Lucky Air said in a statement to the Daily Mail, “and our company will press charges against the passenger in accordance with the law.” It isn’t exactly clear, however, if the airline is holding Lu accountable for the total 140,000 yuan in damages. TPG reached out to Lucky Air for more information but did not receive a response by time of publication.

Despite being a safety hazard, passengers have tossed coins into aircraft engines for good luck more than once. The Independent reported two separate incidents of elderly women tossing coins into a plane’s engine in China for good luck in 2017. One of which, who was flying China Southern, threw nine coins at the engine (only one hit) and caused a flight delay of 5 hours.

While a few small coins might seem pretty innocuous, if sucked up by the engine, they could cause extensive damage or total engine failure.

Featured image by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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