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Date: Feb 22, 2007
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THE ARTICLE


 
 
 

Superstition forces airline logo change

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.

WARM-UPS

1. SUPERSTITIONS: Students write down superstitions from their country on slips of paper (one for each superstition). The teacher writes these on the board. In pairs/groups, students guess which country the superstitions are from. Change partner(s) and talk more about the superstitions.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

Superstitions / airlines / logos / red dots / the number 13 / Western culture / paint / bad luck / passengers / logic / this day and age / silly things / mergers

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. AIRLINE LOGOS: Go to the Internet and find different airplane logos (your teacher might bring some to class). With your partner(s) discuss the meaning of the logos. Vote on which you think are best and which you think are worst. Walk around the class and try to persuade other students your best/worst decisions are better than their decisions.

4. MY LOGO: Spend a few minutes drawing a quick sketch of a logo that you could use for yourself. Walk around the class and explain the meaning of the logo to other students. Ask for ideas and advice on how to improve your logo. Take a vote on the best ones. (The Brussels Airlines logo is on page 13 – unlucky for some.)

5. LOGIC: Look at these superstitions. Decide which are real and which are made up. With your partner(s), try to find the logic behind them. Switch partners and explain your reasons. Vote on the most likely reasons behind the superstitions.

  • Never cut your nails after dark
  • Touching wood brings luck
  • Never eat KFC fries in McDonald’s
  • Carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck
  • Study English before breakfast
  • Walking under a ladder is unlucky
  • A broken mirror brings bad luck
  • Singing in the shower is lucky

6. NOT ME!!: Are you superstitious? Are there numbers you do not like? Are there small routines or rituals you have when taking exams? Do you have lucky charms? Write down your superstitions and discuss them with your partner(s).

7. LOGO: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “logo”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

NOTE: Triskaidekophobia is the name for the fear of the number 13.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

An airline changed its logo because it had a big, red “13” in it.

T / F

b.

The airline received a flood of emails from complaining passengers.

T / F

c.

Airline officials were not surprised at how many emails they got.

T / F

d.

“Thirteen” is the number of African destinations the airline flies to.

T / F

e.

Airline officials have decided to paint 14 dots on their airplanes.

T / F

f.

The number 14 is lucky everywhere in the world.

T / F

g.

A frequent business flyer said superstitions are very logical.

T / F

h.

Brussels Airlines is the result of a merger with Virgin Express.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

flood

meaning

b.

would-be

be liked

c.

taken aback

union

d.

significance

potential

e.

resembled

confess

f.

go down well

deluge

g.

in two minds

looked like

h.

logic

undecided

i.

admit

shocked

j.

merger

reason

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

a flood of

the destinations it flew to

b.

would-be passengers thought

pattern of lights on an airport runway

c.

officials were taken

and age

d.

the number of dots matched

it just wouldn’t do

e.

resembled the

well in China

f.

go back to their hangars

complaints from passengers

g.

this may not go down

for a paint job

h.

Passengers at Brussels airport

aback by the volume of disapproving mail

i.

In this day

concerns of other passengers

j.

she shared the

were in two minds

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Superstition forces airline logo change
 

Superstition has ________ 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 ________ of complaints from passengers about the combination of thirteen red balls ________ bad luck. This number is unlucky in Western culture and many would-be passengers thought it just ________ do on an airplane. Airline officials were taken aback by the ________ of disapproving mail they received. Particularly ________ was the original logo’s designer Ronane Holt. She said the thirteen dots “looked just ________” 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 ________ before take off.

 

 

 

right
wouldn’t
flood
upset
forced
taxied
representing
volume

All of the airline’s planes now have to go back to their ________ for a paint job. A fourteenth red dot will be added to the top of the “b”. However, this may not ________ down well in China, where the number fourteen is unlucky. One-four in Mandarin sounds like the ________ "to want to die". Passengers at Brussels airport were in two ________ as to whether or not they thought the fourteen-dot logo would bring better luck. ________ business flyer Rene Charles said: “In this day and ________, superstitions are a little silly. There is no logic ________ 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 ________ of a merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. It begins flying, with the fourteen dots, on March 25.

 

 

phrase
result
go
age
hangars
frequent
behind
minds

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Superstition forces airline logo change

Superstition __________________ European airline to change its logo. New Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines had to change its 13-red-dot ______________________ 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 __________________ passengers thought it just wouldn’t do on an airplane. Airline officials __________________ the volume of disapproving mail they received. Particularly upset was the original logo’s designer Ronane Holt. She said the thirteen dots “__________________” 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 __________________.

All of the airline’s planes now have to go back __________________  a paint job. A fourteenth red dot will be added __________________. However, this may not go down well in China, where the number fourteen is unlucky. One-four in Mandarin __________________ "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: “__________________, superstitions are a little silly. There is no logic behind them.” However, she did admit that __________________ other passengers and was happier that the newer logo has an extra dot. Brussels Airlines __________________ merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. It begins flying, with the fourteen dots, on March 25.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘bad’ and ‘luck’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “SUPERSTITIONS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about superstitions.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • forced
  • flood
  • combination
  • volume
  • extra
  • take off
  • paint
  • phrase
  • frequent
  • age
  • result
  • March 25

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you read the headline?
  2. What adjectives would you use to describe this story and why?
  3. Are you a superstitious person?
  4. Would the 13 dots on the logo have bothered you?
  5. Do you worry about flying and airplane safety?
  6. If you thought something about an airline was unlucky, would you write an email to complain?
  7. Do you have any small rituals/habits you do when you fly?
  8. Do you believe in fate?
  9. What numbers do you consider to be lucky or unlucky?
  10. Would you feel safer flying with Brussels Airlines if the logo had 13 or 14 red dots?

--------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. What do you think of the logo of your country’s airline?
  4. What do you think of the Brussels Airlines logo (see p.13)?
  5. How do you think superstitions begin and become part of our culture?
  6. Do you think all superstitions are old, or do new ones come along?
  7. Who is the most superstitious person you know?
  8. Do you have anything you keep with you or use for luck?
  9. Do you think Brussels Airlines should find a fourteenth African destination to match the fourteenth red dot?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

YOUR AIRLINE: In pairs / groups. You are starting a new airline. Fill in the details of the table together.

DECISIONS

REASONS WHY

Airline name

 

Slogan

 

Logo

 

Airplane colours

 

Kind of service

 

Flight attendant uniform

 

How to beat your competitors

 

  • Change partners and share your ideas. Give each other advice on better ideas for the airlines.
  • Give a presentation of your ideas to your class. Vote on the best one(s).

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

Superstition forces airline logo change

Superstition has (1) ____ 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 (2) ____ of complaints from passengers about the combination of thirteen red balls representing bad luck. This number is unlucky in Western culture and many (3) ____  passengers thought it just wouldn’t do on an airplane. Airline officials were (4) ____ 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 (5) ____ to in Africa. The design, in the shape of a “b”,  also resembled the pattern of lights on an airport runway as planes (6) ____ before take off.

All of the airline’s planes now have to go back to their (7) ____ for a paint job. A fourteenth red dot will be added to the top of the “b”. However, this may not go (8) ____ 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 (9) ____ 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 (10) ____, superstitions are a little silly. There is no logic behind them.” However, she did (11) ____ that she shared the concerns of other passengers and was happier that the newer logo has an extra dot. Brussels Airlines is the result (12) ____  a merger between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. It begins flying, with the fourteen dots, on March 25.

1.

(a)

force

(b)

forced

(c)

forces

(d)

forceful

2.

(a)

flood

(b)

flooding

(c)

flooded

(d)

floods

3.

(a)

would

(b)

would’ve

(c)

would have

(d)

would-be

4.

(a)

presented

(b)

stolen

(c)

given

(d)

taken

5.

(a)

flying

(b)

fly

(c)

flew

(d)

flown

6.

(a)

taxied

(b)

taxi

(c)

taxis

(d)

taxed

7.

(a)

hangouts

(b)

hangings

(c)

hangars

(d)

hangers

8.

(a)

out

(b)

in

(c)

down

(d)

up

9.

(a)

thinking

(b)

having

(c)

in

(d)

on

10.

(a)

age

(b)

aged

(c)

ageless

(d)

ageing

11.

(a)

from

(b)

of

(c)

with

(d)

by

12.

(a)

importance

(b)

tension

(c)

pressured

(d)

stressed

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about the Brussels Airlines logo story. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. AIRLINE LOGO POSTER: Make a poster showing airline logos. Make sure you write a description and history of the logos. Show your poster to your class in the next lesson. Vote on the best one

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about how superstitions affect people’s lives. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Which article was best and why?

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the CEO of Brussels Airlines. Tell him/her what you think about the airline adding an extra dot. Ask him/her three questions. Give him/her three pieces of advice. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

6. SURVEY: Ask all the people you know about their superstitions. Write a short report. Read your report to your classmates in your next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. F

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

flood

deluge

b.

would-be

potential

c.

taken aback

shocked

d.

significance

meaning

e.

resembled

looked like

f.

go down well

be liked

g.

in two minds

undecided

h.

logic

reason

i.

admit

confess

j.

merger

union

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

a flood of

complaints from passengers

b.

would-be passengers thought

it just wouldn’t do

c.

officials were taken

aback by the volume of disapproving mail

d.

the number of dots matched

the destinations it flew to

e.

resembled the

pattern of lights on an airport runway

f.

go back to their hangars

for a paint job

g.

this may not go down

well in China

h.

Passengers at Brussels airport

were in two minds

i.

In this day

and age

j.

she shared the

concerns of other passengers

GAP FILL:

Superstition forces airline logo change

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.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - b

2 - a

3 - d

4 - d

5 - c

6 -a

7 - c

8 -c

9 -c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

 

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