The woman, whose surname is Qui, threw nine coins at the engine from the tarmac while boarding, with one of the coins remaining nestled in the engine.
She was then taken away by police after another passenger reported her behavior.
As a result, the flight to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou was delayed for almost six hours after the incident.
Police at Shanghai Pudong International Airport said Ms Qui was a devoted Buddhist and believed the coin offering would ensure a safe flight.
However the People's Daily newspaper, citing police, said that while she had broken the law and would normally serve five days behind bars, she is exempted because she is aged over 70.