The fear of flying is a common phobia, with up to 40 percent of passengers experiencing some level of anxiety before or during a flight. To combat this, many airlines have removed rows 13 and 17 from their planes, as these numbers are considered unlucky by some passengers. These rows are often associated with the number 13, which has been dubbed “triskaidekaphobia” and has negative connotations in various cultures.
The origin of the mass aversion to the number 13 is not entirely clear, but it is believed to stem from various cultural influences such as biblical records, Norse mythology, and the Mayan calendar. In Italy, the number 17 is also considered unlucky due to its similarity in Roman numerals to “vixi,” which means “my life is over.” Other unlucky numbers include four in Chinese, which sounds like the word for death.
Airlines that skip rows 13 and 17 include Ryanair, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airlines, Emirates, KLM and Iberia, as well as Lufthansa. These airlines have acknowledged the superstitions surrounding these numbers and have taken steps to avoid any potential discomfort or inconvenience for their passengers. United Airlines also does not have lines 13 or 14 on their planes.
In addition to avoiding certain rows on planes, some passengers may also engage in rituals or superstitions before or during their flights. For example, some may touch the outside of the plane before taking their seat or wear lucky clothing. However, it’s important to note that these practices are purely superstitious and have no scientific basis for their effectiveness in combating fear of flying.
Overall, while there may be some superstitions surrounding certain numbers or practices related to flying, it’s important for airlines and passengers alike to remain rational and logical when traveling by air.