Superstition has forced a European airline to change its logo. New Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines had to change its 13-red-dot logo on the tail of all its planes because of a flood of complaints from passengers about the combination of thirteen red balls representing bad luck. This number is unlucky in Western culture and many would-be passengers thought it just wouldn’t do on an airplane. Airline officials were taken aback by the volume of disapproving mail they received. Particularly upset was the original logo’s designer Ronane Holt. She said the thirteen dots “looked just right” and had extra significance because the number of dots matched the destinations it flew to in Africa. The design, in the shape of a “b”, also resembled the pattern of lights on an airport runway as planes taxied before take off.

All of the airline’s planes now have to go back to their hangars for a paint job. A fourteenth red dot will be added to the top of the “b”. However, this may not go down well in China, where the number fourteen is unlucky. One-four in Mandarin sounds like the phrase „to want to die”. Passengers at Brussels airport were in two minds as to whether or not they thought the fourteen-dot logo would bring better luck. Frequent business flyer Rene Charles said: “In this day and age, superstitions are a little silly. There is no logic behind them.” However, she did admit that she shared the concerns of other passengers and was happier that the newer logo has an extra dot. Brussels Airlines is the result of a merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. It begins flying, with the fourteen dots, on March 25.