Crossing the Tarmac

As I arrived at the airline lounge, a tiny, corner-of-the-eye observation piqued my curiosity. Is that *normal*?

The first thing I noticed was that, as they were moving to replace a food tray, one of the wait-staff was crossing themselves in the catholic tradition. Not an every-day occurrence, but not interesting in itself. Maybe the guacamole needed all the help it could get.

Then I noticed that in their line of vision, not my own, a plane was just in the process of lifting off the tarmac. It seemed to me that the server was observing some sort of traditional blessing on the departing aircraft with that action, and it got me wondering…

Does anyone know if that’s a tradition or superstition – that if you see an aircraft lifting off, that you bless it on its way? It it widespread?

I’d not seen it happen before today, so it can’t be common, but has anyone else encountered it?

And would it unsettle you to know that various ground staff are praying you on your way as you slip the surly bonds of earth?