Weird airline superstition you can still find on planes today

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To travel

Ryanair passengers may have noticed that something was missing in their cabins. Photo / Unsplash, Portuguese gravity

There is nothing more bewildering than realizing that you forgot something while going on vacation. Except, maybe, when you realize that your airline has forgotten something …

A passenger on a low-cost carrier noticed that an entire row of seats was missing on his plane.

Sitting in row twelve, Tom Cotter observed that his Ryanair flight jumped straight to row fourteen, missing a disturbing number.

“Weird that there is no line 13 on Ryanair flights. Why never? Superstition? Surely not!” he tweeted on his way to Seveille.

The airline has previously claimed it was a quirk of the U.S. Boeing 737 builders.

The “tradition” of leaving out the 13th seat is something many carriers do out of deference to superstitious passengers.

The number is considered unlucky in many parts of the world: the 13th is a coven of witches, the number of Judas Iscariot, and Friday the 13th is a bad omen for travelers as well.

Other airlines that skip a row of seats include Air France and German airline Lufthansa, which are also not at number 17. (This superstition is attributed to the fact that Roman numerals are an anagram of VIXI or ” I have finished living ”.)

Elsewhere, Cathay from Hong Kong avoids rows 4 or 14 for numbers that sound like the Cantonese word for ‘dead’.

It is simply the wrong way to provide a passenger with a “death row” ticket.

“Triskaidekaphobia” or fear of the number 13 has been blamed for many travel traditions, including high-rise hotels that miss the thirteenth floor on plans.

13th stage: some airlines like Ryanair skip the 13th row of seats, unlike Qantas.  Photo / Seatguru
13th stage: some airlines like Ryanair skip the 13th row of seats, unlike Qantas. Photo / Seatguru

However, it is unfair to blame the manufacturer for following superstitions. Qantas’ 737-800 fleet retains its 13 line. So do low-cost airlines Easyjet and British Airways.

Seat numbering is something airlines decide for themselves, although renumbering ominous aircraft is a long-standing tradition.

Ryanair customers flying from London to Milan will likely notice the missing row, but not that their 737-8 aircraft was previously called 737-MAX.

After a 20-month worldwide flight ban following a pilot’s software safety investigation, the US manufacturer has renamed the model 737-8.

Last December, the Irish airliner bought 75 Boeing 737 MAXs with a list price of $ 13 billion, a very competitive price.

Air New Zealand avoids the whole problem of lines 13, 14 and 17 by changing their numbering to business class.  Photo / Headquarters Guru
Air New Zealand avoids the whole problem of lines 13, 14 and 17 by changing their numbering to business class. Photo / Headquarters Guru

Air New Zealand does not fly a Boeing 737 in its fleet. However, they get around the problem entirely on the 787s by jumping from row seven to row 23, counting each business class seat as a separate row. There is no seat 13 but a 4J.

While aviation is teeming with quirks and superstitions, airlines are content to take their own chances.

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