Many numbers are considered to be lucky, unlucky, superstitious, or somehow unique. It varies regionally, religiously, culturally, or by country. There are also numbers directly associated with a particular event that resonates, whether positively or negatively. But what about flights that use 666, the ‘devil’s number’?
In the case of aviation, the lack of use (or indeed use) of these ‘special’ numbers as flight numbers is intriguing and telling. It can apply to a specific airline – for example no longer using the number when a flight has gone down with a loss of life – or can be broadly applied at an individual country level or more or less for the whole industry.
Routes with flight number one, for example, are often perceived as prestigious. They conjure up images of importance or difference, or they may reflect a historical point in time, a technological advancement, or the specific market or passengers.
The devil’s number: 666
What about number 666, the so-called ‘number of the beast’ and synonymous with the devil, the antichrist, or evil in general?
For some, this number is believed to hold such meaning as to scare them into taking action. In 2013, Route 666, a US highway nicknamed the ‘Devil’s Highway’, was renamed Route 491 due to the negative connotations. Surely no airline and no route would have flight number 666?
What routes have flight number 666?
In 2021, just 20 routes have flight number 666, OAG schedules show, whether they’re a one-off service or regularly operated. That’s not many – and SIN (Singapore) to HEL (Helsinki) isn’t one of them. In contrast, ‘unlucky’ 13 has twice as many flights – none within the US – while ‘lucky’ seven has five times more flights.
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The use of 666 varies geographically. Aside from a one-off by Sun Country from Tucson to Minneapolis on April 1st – it really was scheduled – no 666 route exists within the US. Instead, they are mainly in Europe – including Ryanair from Dublin to Birmingham – and Asia. Ordered by total seats, the following have been scheduled at some point this year:
- Citilink: QG666 Jakarta to Denpasar
- All Nippon: NH666 Nagasaki to Tokyo Haneda
- Lion Air: JT666 Surabaya to Samarinda
- Royal Air Maroc: AT666 Tangier to Paris Orly
- Volaris: Y4666 Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez
- Luxair: LG666 Malaga to Luxembourg
- Pegasus: PC666 Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Basra
- Ryanair: FR666 Dublin to Birmingham
- Widerøe: WF666 Trondheim to Bergen to Harstad (a one-stop)
- Alliance Air: 9I666 Gulbarga to Mumbai
- British Airways: BA666 London Heathrow to Chania
- Corendon Airlines: XC666 Katowice to Antalya
- Iran Air: IR666 Kuwait to Esfahan
- Air India: AI666 Goa to Mumbai
- Royal Air Maroc: AT666 Tangier to Fes to Paris Orly (a one-stop)
- Royal Air Maroc: AT666 Casablanca to Agadir to Paris Orly (a one-stop)
- Sun Country: SY666 Tucson to Minneapolis
- Israir: 6H666 Dubai to Tel Aviv
- Link Airways: FC666 Tamworth to Brisbane
- Air Greenland: GL666 Qaarsut to Uummannaq
The day this article was written
On September 17th, there are six 666 routes that are to operate. They’re shown below in order of local departure time. Of these, only one – AT666 from Tangier to Paris Orly, 991 miles away – is in the air, with the call sign ‘Royal Air Maroc 666 Tango’.
- 08:30-11:55: AT666 Tangier to Paris Orly
- 09:05-15:10: BA666 Heathrow to Chania
- 09:50-12:30: LG666 Malaga to Luxembourg
- 11:10-14:10: QG666 Jakarka to Denpasar
- 12:30-13:40: AI666 Goa to Mumbai
- 13:35-15:15: NH666 Nagasaki to Tokyo Haneda
Have you ever flown when the number was 666 or when it the number was somehow special, different, or meaningful for you? Let us know in the comments.