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Budget Travelers Take Off Aboard Iron Maiden's Flight No. 666

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About a week ago, The Edinburgh Reporter wrote:

Photographs are one of our big loves at The Reporter. So today we bring you a photo with a question attached. Actually a couple of questions. This plane was sitting on the tarmac at Edinburgh Airport last night.

Is it the official Iron Maiden plane? If so – why was it here? They are not due to play in Scotland for another couple of months and that is in Glasgow. So maybe they were here to show their support for one of the political parties campaigning this weekend? Or is it cover for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge…

In fact, it is the official Iron Maiden Boeing 757-200. It's currently at Edinburgh to "shuttle holidaymakers" from the Edinburgh airport to vacation spots in Turkey and Greece, according to The Scotsman. However, singer Bruce Dickinson, a full-time captain and trainer for Astraeus Airlines when he's not performing, won't be at the controls.

An Astraeus spokesman said the plane is "regularly used for commercial flights when not in use by Iron Maiden, but usually the band's distinctive livery is removed first."

"Normally our planes are always plain white so they can operate for any airline," he added. "Iron Maiden have just finished the overseas leg of their world tour and the plane has gone straight into use, as a plane being used by Thomson Airways had some mechanical difficulties and has been taken away for repairs. That's why we haven't had a chance to take the logo off."

A Thomson spokesperson tells The Scotsman that the plane has been "quite a talking point" among passengers.

"It's a little different to what you normally see on the tarmac," he said.

So as not to spook jumpy vacationers, Thomson did actually change the flight number from the usual 666 before putting the aircraft into service -- a courtesy to passengers virtually unheard of in the airline business these days without turning it into a "revenue generator."

"Sure, we'll change that -- I'll just need a major credit card, and oh, you'll have to make up $480 to cover the fare difference."

"But it's the same flight."

"Oh no, sir -- this is now flight 667."

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