Is This United Plane Cursed or Just Ready to Retire?

by Anthony Losanno

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A United Airlines Boeing 767-300 was forced to make an emergency landing on Wednesday after heat and smoke were reported in the cockpit. This might sound scary, but even more so when you realize that this aircraft had just had an incident two weeks prior where one of its emergency slides fell and hit a suburban home just before landing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Could this plane just be ready for retirement or is it the mark of the devil in its registration number, N666UA?


On Wednesday, United Airlines flight UA3 had only traveled around 260 miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) when the pilots radioed in “uncontained heat and smoke on the flight deck” and returned to the airport. The aircraft was met by emergency personnel. They inspected the plane for signs of fire or smoke and had it remain on the taxiway for 45 minutes before allowing it to go to a gate. Thankfully, no one was injured.

UA Slide

Both the falling slide (more here) and the odd smoke makes me wonder if it’s time to retire this aircraft or if the sinister number in its registration (666) is living up to its scary associations. People have associated the number 666 with the devil or antichrist since biblical times. I just learned that there is even a phobia associated with the number and its devilish connotations. The fear of 666 as the number of the beast is called hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.


The bad luck continues tomorrow with this aircraft. United Airlines flight UA959 with service between London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) cancelled due to a technical issue.

Anthony’s Take: I say all of this in jest since no one was injured in either incident, but the registration number is rather ominous and seems to be leaving a trail of odd happenings and cancellations in its wake. Better pack a little holy water if you’re scheduled to fly on this plane.

(Slide Image: Patrick Devitt via CNN Travel.)

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