Not such ‘lucky’ coins

Last week the Chinese media was busy commenting on the case of an elderly woman called Mrs Qiu, 80 years old and with limited mobility, she was going on her first flight accompanied by some family members.


The flight was on China Southern Airlines CZ380 from Shanghai’s Pudong airport to Guangzhou. The plane was on the ‘apron’ at the airport so the 150 passengers were bused to it from the airport buildings, and then had to board by climbing the attached stairway.

Half-way up the stairway, Mrs Qiu threw nine coins towards one of the engines – “to prevent disaster and make it a lucky flight”.  Eight coins fell on the ground but one fell into the engine.

The flight was due to take off at 12.40pm, but Mrs Qiu’s actions meant that the flight had to be delayed as if they had taken off, a coin in one of the jet engines could have caused a catastrophic failure. It took until 4.35pm for the engine to be thoroughly searched and the coin retrieved. The flight finally took off at 6.16 pm.

I would imagine that everyone – passengers, captain and crew, airport officials, etc were totally pissed-off with the situation.  Mrs Qiu was arrested and charged with endangering a flight.


The value of the coins she threw amounted to 1.7 yuan – approximately 19p in British money.

Latest info is that she has been given a suspended sentence, and that China Southern Airlines will not let her fly with them again. Not surprising really.

About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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5 Responses to Not such ‘lucky’ coins

  1. Eha says:

    The dear lady only needed a watchful eye! As did every other boarding this flight or any around the world!! I call it 50:50 and am glad she was not given jail time!!! Naturally a huge and expensive happenstance and possibly a catastrophe . . . but do you really think she did anything ‘criminal’ on her first ever and such an exciting flight ?!!!!

  2. victualling says:

    Quite a story. Superstitiousness does not pay.

  3. Behind the Story says:

    This story is a good illustration of the clash between the old China and the new. Mrs. Qiu was born the year the Japanese invaded China. So much has happened since then. Some people haven’t kept up with the times. She’s one of them.

  4. Lorilin says:

    That is crazy! What an interesting story. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Bea dM says:

    They should put the story up at our Fountain of Trevi here in Rome to discourage coin throwing 🙂 Results of tourists throwing coins in aren’t potentially tragic but regular maintenance are very expensive, and our Municipality is on the verge of bankruptcy (the coins don’t cover the cleanups)

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