By Andrea Romano
February 26, 2019
SOPA Images/Getty Images

Lots of people are nervous about flying, so they do all kinds of little personal rituals to ease their anxiety.

This can mean crossing their fingers during take off, holding on to a special object for comfort, or even practicing deep breathing techniques. All of these are great examples of giving yourself some “good luck” and keeping calm on your flight. Throwing coins into the engine, however, is a different story.

According to The Independent, Chinese airline Lucky Air is suing a passenger for tossing coins into a plane’s engine before a flight from Anqing to Kunming in China on Feb. 17. Officials discovered the problem when they found two one yuan coins on the ground near the plane. The passenger, who is only identified by his last name, “Lu,” claims he only did this for good luck. At the time, the 28-year-old man was traveling with his wife and child, according to Fox News.

Tossing coins as part of a good luck ritual is well-known in China and in many other parts of the world. Take a look at any iconic city fountain, like the Trevi Fountain in Rome or the lake at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and you’ll find it covered with little coins that tourists and locals alike have thrown in — all in hopes of good fortune.

Most of the time, throwing a coin into a fountain for good luck doesn’t do much harm. In fact, coins in fountains are often collected for charities. However, according to The Points Guy, small objects like coins can cause greater damage than you think, or even total engine failure. Lucky Air claims that the coins thrown in the plane caused about $21,000 in damages and delayed over 160 passengers, who had to wait until the following day to board a new flight, according to Fox News.

Belgian aviation site Aviation24.be apparently shared a photo of airport employees working on the plane’s engine after the coins were discovered, according to Fox News.

Lucky Air is now pressing charges against the passenger. Travel Pulse reported that he was detained for a week. 

“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,” Lucky Air said in a statement, according to Travel Pulse. But “Lu” is not the only passenger to try this good luck ritual. It actually happened to another Lucky Air flight in 2017 when a 76-year-old woman did the same thing.

This man is not the only passenger currently being sued by an airline. Earlier in February, Lufthansa announced it was suing a passenger for deliberately missing his connecting flight in order to save money.

If you want to give yourself good luck on a flight, perhaps the best way is to just listen to the pre-flight announcements.

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