Public Service Announcement: Don’t Throw Your Good Luck Coins Into Airplane Engines – It Doesn’t Work!

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An elderly female Chinese passenger scheduled to take a China Southern flight from Shanghai thought it was a good idea to help her luck and chip a few coins into the engine of the aircraft during tarmac boarding.

Needless to say her streak of luck (and that of her fellow passengers) didn’t last very long as the flight had to be cancelled and the woman being detained by airport police in Shanghai.

Another day, another wonderful story that sounds to crazy to be real unless your read deeper into it and nothing surprises you anymore.

Throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain? Check. Attaching a ‘Love Lock’ on a bridge above the Seine? Sure thing. Chipping a few coins into the engine of the plane you’re about to board? Maybe not a good idea!

AFP (access here) brings us this latest goodie from Shanghai-Pudong.

A superstitious passenger delayed a flight from Shanghai for several hours on Tuesday (Jun 27) after throwing coins at the plane’s engine for good luck, Chinese officials said.

Eight of the coins missed their target but one nestled inside an engine, airport police said, adding that a passenger spotted her and reported it to authorities.

The elderly woman was detained by police at Shanghai Pudong International Airport following the bizarre incident, forcing nearly 150 passengers to be evacuated from the plane bound for Guangzhou in southern China.

The 80-year-old threw nine coins at an engine of China Southern Airlines flight CZ380 as she was boarding on the tarmac. …

“A senior passenger threw coins to the plane’s engine and delayed the flight. The passenger involved has been taken away by police,” China Southern Airlines said in a statement on its Twitter-like Weibo account.

“In order to make sure the flight is safe, China Southern maintenance has conducted a full exam of the plane’s engine.”

The incident was soon trending on Weibo and police added in a statement: “After investigation the involved passenger surnamed Qiu said she threw the coins to pray for safety.

Meanwhile China Southern maintenance workers were busy retrieving the coins from inside and around the engine:


China Southern made no mystery of the reason why the flight was eventually cancelled and even uploaded respective pictures on their Weibo account.

A good choice to keep people properly informed as it’s not uncommon for passengers in China to go bonkers when a flight is heavily delayed or cancelled, evident by incidents such as the woman who staged a protest laying backside down on a ramp last Monday (see Apple Daily report here) or the well publicized case where a large group of inconvenienced passengers on an Orient Thai flight started to revolt by singing their national anthem (see the entertaining story from 2015 here). In this case they can take their thanks to the lady who caused everybody to stay behind.


Elderly people all over the world sometimes do rather strange things so let’s just leave it at that at this point calling it an innocent mistake old people sometimes get caught up in. It’s definitely on the top of the most ridiculous things though. I’m sure the airport police and China Southern had a stern word with her for causing the cancellation and letting her wealth rain on the tarmac.

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  • Gary

    Add age bias to the pile now, too. C’mon, John. Can’t you proof read these pls?

  • David Stevenson

    What do you mean age bias? I do not understand. Are you saying the lady knew exactly what she was doing? A person born in 1947 from Communist China probably has a different worldview than a person born in 1997.

  • Neal

    Great story Sebastian! Crazy stuff like this won’t be shown as something not-to-do unless it’s publicized.

  • Christian

    Good tip. This should be right after the “Don’t smash your hand with a hammer for fun” announcement under the Bad Idea heading.

    • Gary


  • Gaijinsan

    Why does crap like this only seem to happen in a “certain” country? (Quite) New Money, what a blessing to the rest of the world.

  • Jamo

    Deary me.

    I don’t think the age or the nationality has anything to do with this. I’m pretty sure anyone who even hadn’t seen a plane before and knew it was going to fly up into the sky, might consider it good common sense not to throw coins into anything to do with a plane. This has to be put down to this particular person being thick as sh*t.