The fear of flying is a common phobia that affects millions of people worldwide, with between two and five percent of the population experiencing strong anxiety at the thought of taking to the skies. Up to 40 percent of passengers also report feeling some form of fear while flying on a plane, according to Euronews.com. In order to combat these fears, many airlines have implemented measures such as skipping rows 13 and 17, which are considered unlucky numbers by many.
The number 13 has been associated with bad luck for centuries, and has even earned its own name – triskaidekaphobia – in 1911 when it was first used in an American psychological journal. While the origins of this superstition are not entirely clear, it is more prevalent in Western cultures. Many attribute these feelings to Norse mythology, where Loki, the trickster god, arrived uninvited as the 13th guest at a feast and caused one of the guests to shoot another.
However, there are other unlucky numbers as well. In China, for example, the pronunciation of “four” sounds similar to the Chinese word for death. In Italy, 17 is also considered an unlucky number because when rearranged from Roman numerals it becomes “vixi,” which means “my life is over” in Latin. United Airlines doesn’t have line 13 or 14 either – they removed line 14 because it sounds like “will die” in Chinese.
In addition to avoiding certain rows on planes, many airlines have implemented other measures to alleviate passenger fears related to flying. For example, Ryanair offers free drinks and snacks during flights from Dublin to London-Stansted Airport on Fridays the 13th in order to attract passengers who may be hesitant to fly on that day due to superstition. Other measures include allowing passengers