Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mohnton, Berks County, Pennsylvania: Man gets thrill from foreboding flight

Six months ago, Paul Borish bought a one-way ticket to HEL, and on Friday the 13th, sitting in row 13, he made the trip.

Borish, 60, of Mohnton was on board Finnair flight AY666 from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Helsinki on Friday.

Take-off was at 1300 hours (1 p.m.).

"Almost a third of the people that I told I was doing this just acted like they couldn't hear me, they were so freaked out," he said.

To the relief (or perhaps disappointment) of everyone on board, there was no system malfunction or devilish mischief of any kind, and they touched down in Helsinki ahead of schedule.

Borish went to Copenhagen specifically to take the foreboding flight, and he decided to plan a short vacation around it. He'll be in Helsinki until Monday. He said he likes to make plans by ear and wait until he's on site so he can talk to locals and look up the most popular attractions. There's an island near the city that he said he might check out over the weekend.

Although he'd never taken this particular flight before, Borish, who works at Reading Hospital, is a frequent traveler. A few weeks ago he spent a weekend in China, and before that he was in Vancouver, B.C., with his wife and daughter. Earlier in the year, the family traveled to Iceland and Spain.

"That's kind of the best part of this hobby, being able to show my 10-year-old daughter the world," Borish said.

Borish said that although some people couldn't believe he would willingly choose to board a flight numbered 666, others weren't surprised. He's had a number of dangerous adventures in his life, including a three-year stint living in the Alaskan Bush. During that time, he said he once hitched a ride on a small mail-delivery plane during a snowstorm.

"We were actually (flying) sideways a few times," he said. "I had a death grip on the seat of the plane."

Finnair has operated AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki for 11 years, and in that time the flight has fallen on Friday the 13th a total of 21 times.

On Oct. 29, AY666 will change to AY954. Finnair said on Twitter that the company is making changes to flight numbers because the business is growing and adding new flights, not because of superstition.

In a tweet announcing the safe landing of AY666, Finnair left followers with a teaser:

"Farewell to Finnair AY666, but remember, we still have a flight from SIN to HEL ;)"

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