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Hey, it’s October! The month of superstitions, ending with Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve. Did you know there are superstitions regarding airline travel? Here are a bunch of “lucky” or “unlucky’ things to do in preparation to traveling by air, if indeed you hold to such beliefs:
For example, no airline schedules a flight 13. Continental Airlines, before it merged with United, avoided the using the number 13 on gates, rows of seats in airplanes. Much of that happened following the crash of flight 1713 in Denver back in 1987.
Alaska Airlines for example, will not use the numbers 13, 666, or 911. It also has decided to never use 261 out of respect for the victims of the Flight 261 crash back in 2000. American Airlines has not used the number 1549 since the crash in 2009 that landed a plane in New York’s Hudson River. American Airlines and United have both retired the flight numbers that were used during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. When asked about this habit, the airlines said that tradition called for the retirement of such numbers.
Other signs. Construction workers top airport control towers with a ceremonial cedar tree, which is a construction tradition for good luck. Airlines also have put perceived “lucky” numbers into their flights, such as Southwest Flight 711 from San Antonio to Las Vegas. Airline attendants, who greet passengers at the front of the airliner, often see passengers do many things, from crossing themselves before boarding, to touching the plane, or even kissing the plane and doing little dances. When questioned, the passengers say that these little traditions bring good luck for the flight.
Of course, there are always exceptions to tradition. For example, if one wanted to, there is a daily flight 666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki, whose international airport code is (HEL). Finnair, who has this flight stated when asked why this flight: “The 666 superstition is not such a big thing here in Finland. We’ve never had a reason to change the flight number, so it stays.”