Would you board flight 666 to HEL on Friday the 13th? 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. Today's flight is almost full. "It has been quite a joke among the pilots" says one Finnair veteran, who will fly the Airbus A320 from Copenhagen to Helsinki. "I'm not a superstitious man. It's only a coincidence for me."
The daily flight AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki falls on Friday the 13th twice in 2013. Some airlines, like Scandinavian Airlines, take superstitions seriously and don't have a row 13 on board. However, the negative connotations are a relatively new phenomenon for northern Europeans, and Finnair and other regional carriers like Norwegian and Estonian Air keep row 13. As one expert on comparative folklore points out, "Less than 100 years ago, the number 13 did not have this sinister meaning; it's quite recent in the north."