HELSINKI (TheBlaze/AP) — Would you board flight 666 to HEL on Friday the 13th? It’s a question that many passengers were faced with when making their travel plans to Helsinki, Finland, recently.
For superstitious travelers that might be tempting fate. But Finnair passengers on AY666 to Helsinki — which has the 3 letter designation HEL — don’t seem too bothered. In fact, Friday’s flight is almost full.
And the entire situation has been quite comical for many of the individuals who work for the airline.
Finnair pilot Juha-Pekka Keidasto, who will fly the flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki, says “it has been quite a joke among the pilots.”
Friday the 13th is considered bad luck in many countries and the number 666 also has negative biblical associations. The former, while certainly creepy to the superstitious, actually has roots in ancient history, while the latter has theological connections.
In 2004, National Geographic reported that some people are so paralyzed by fear on the 13th that they refuse to fly or embark on other ventures that they would on a typical day. At the time, Donald Dossey, owner of a stress management company, told the outlet, “It’s been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do.”
Here’s more about the history behind the allegedly unlucky day, as told by National Geographic:
Dossey, also a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun, said fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.
Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
“Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day,” said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.
All this aside, even some airlines apparently take these fears seriously and don’t have seat row 13 on board. However, the negative connotations of Friday the 13th are a relatively new phenomenon for northern Europeans and Finnair keeps row 13.
As for the 666 part of the equation, the so-called “Mark of the Beast” is mentioned in the Bible (Revelation 13:15-18) and is widely assumed to be a part of the End Times.
For those flying on AY666 today, though, all of this is simply hype, it seems.
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