Passengers Refused to Board Iron Maiden’s ‘Ed Force One,’ Convinced It Was Cursed

André Du-pont (Mexico Air Spotters) (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2 ), via Wikimedia Commons
Published on:

Few bands exude showmanship on and off the stage quite like Iron Maiden. When the British metal gods set out on their Somewhere Back in Time tour in 2008, frontman Bruce Dickinson commissioned a custom 757 to transport the band and their equipment across the globe. 

As the story goes, Dickinson (whose long standing side hustle in aviation is well documented) was employed both as a pilot and a marketing director flying planes for Astraeus Airlines at the time.

Although the company was originally planning to remove the custom-made Iron Maiden decals covering the plane at the end of the tour, the gimmick proved to be so successful that they put the jumbo jet back into service with the branding still attached. 

While ‘Ed Force One’ received a positive response from passengers in Europe and the Middle East, everything changed when the plane touched down in Africa. As Dickinson was still running charter flights with the plane for Astraeus at the time, he was left to explain the situation to customers in a letter:

“Dear 666 passenger,

I am gutted to have to tell you that Astraeus Airlines have been forced to remove the Iron Maiden decals (artwork transfers) from the Boeing 757 and that its now highly unlikely that operational procedures will allow enough time to have the Ed Force One livery reinstated for my Bruce Air trips.

When we originally commissioned the 757 from Astraeus it was due to be reverted back to their normal airline branding at the end of the first leg of our tour. However Astraeus were getting such great feedback from passengers and airports around our tour, that they asked if they could retain the Iron Maiden decals when they took the plane back for their own normal charter flights. We thought this was great and it has since been flying European and Middle East routes with spectacular reaction.

Unfortunately for us, ‘Ed Force One’ was the only plane available from the Astraeus fleet to fly a new and regular route into and out of an African country on a recent new route. The striking Iron Maiden imagery had a violent reaction from the locals as they regarded the artwork, particularly that of Eddie, as very bad ju ju.

Not only would local passengers refuse to board the plane because of the artwork, but other passengers were refusing to board planes of other airlines parked nearby in case they were tainted by the evil spirits! This resulted in some furore among the attending passengers and even more among the airlines involved! As the liveried 757 is owned and maintained by Astraeus, they had no alternative but to strip off all the Iron Maiden artwork and return the plane to its usual livery to be able to continue on the new route . 

As most seats on these trips were taken up before I announced that we would be using Ed Force One (Warsaw/Prague was already sold out), I really hope this isn’t too much of a disappointment to you, and I much look forward to welcoming you aboard Bruce Air Flight AEU 666. The team at ICT will keep you advised of any developments.

Best wishes,