Planet China

Travel money

A handful of China’s first-time flyers continues to cause problems for the country’s aviation bosses. As WiC has previously reported, these superstitious debutants decide to ‘bless’ their plane by throwing coins into the engines in a weird pre-departure ritual.

The problem has been so persistent – the first such incident took place in 2017 and involved an 80 year-old lady – that one of China’s busiest tourism destinations put up a notice last week warning passengers that ‘lucky coin throws’ were against the law. Posted above the security check at Sanya’s airport in Hainan, it said: “We respectfully inform you that tossing coins at a plane to pray for good fortune is illegal and it violates the aviation safety code and will harm blessings.”

At least five coin-tossing incidents have been reported this year, with Shenzhen Airlines winning Rmb50,000 ($7,231) in damages from a court case against a man who threw two coins into an engine. According to, the airport in Hainan subsequently removed the notice but only to “revise” the wording. “The warning has been taken down while it is amended, and the English translation might be scrapped. It will go up again once it has been adjusted,” an airport official declared.

© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sponsored by HSBC.

The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.