Christian-Owned Airlines Change Wing Light Colors to Celebrate Christmas?

A meme about "Christian-owned airlines" changing wing lights to red and green is just a spoof.

  • Published 1 December 2016

Claim

Christian-owned airlines change the lights on the wings of airliners to "celebrate Christmas" (and passengers can request other colors).

Originally saw on Facebook... Did reverse image search to find the link. Picture state that they swap airplane lights for Christmas. Do they?

Collected via e-mail, December 2016

Rating

Origin

In November 2016, a meme circulated (probably as a joke among aviation buffs and workers) showing an American Airlines jet that appeared to be decorated for Christmas:

PSA: Christian-Owned Airline Companies change the lights on the wings to celebrate Christmas, without considering whether the passengers on the plane celebrate Christmas. If you are flying this season, please let the gate agent know you do not celebrate Christmas and they will swap the bulbs out for you[!] Please SHARE SHARE SHARE[!]

On 1 December 2016, the Facebook page “ATC Memes (Air-Traffic Control Memes)” published a video of a purported announcement from a JetBlue pilot referencing a request to change the lights based on a “social media meme.” It is not clear whether those remarks were in and of themselves intended to be a joke:


We contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what (if any) colors were standard on passenger jet wings. They told us that “for generations,” the port (left) wing has borne a red light, and the starboard (right) wing a green one. The representative said this had been standard in aviation for decades, antedating even the FAA itself, and is not related to Christmas or any other season. The practice in fact dates as far back as 1848, when the United Kingdom passed regulations standardizing the color of specific signal lights for sea vessels. In 1849 the United States adopted the same conventions, adopted internationally in 1897.
Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes