Would you board the 666 flight to 'HEL' on Friday the 13th?


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The Independent Online

Finnair passengers flying today on Finland's AY666 to Helsinki have been boarding the flight to HEL on 13 Friday, but appear unfazed by superstitions.

“It has been quite a joke among the pilots,” said veteran Finnair pilot Juha-Pekka Keidasto, who will fly the Airbus A320 from Copenhagen to Helsinki. “I'm not a superstitious man. It's only a coincidence for me.”

“And if there's some passenger who is anxious about this 666 our cabin crew is always happy to help them,” Keidasto added.

The daily flight AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki falls on Friday the 13th twice in 2013. 13 Friday is considered bad luck in many countries. The number 666 is also feared by many superstitious people because of strong negative biblical associations.

Scandinavian Airlines take these fears seriously however - to the extent that they do not have a row 13 on board.

But the negative connotations are a relatively new phenomenon for wider Europe, with Finnair and other regional carriers like Norwegian and Estonian Air keeping row 13 on board.

“Less than 100 years ago, the number 13 did not have this sinister meaning; it's quite recent in the north,” said Ulo Valk, professor of comparative folklore at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

“There are 12 hours, 12 months and in Christianity 12 apostles and this is a divine number. Add one more and it brings in a certain element of chaos,” he said.

But passengers on flight 666 to HEL had a calm flight over the Baltic at this time of year. Some posted pictures online of their luggage stickers with ironic slogans such as "I survived Flight 666"

Additional reporting by Associated Press