What frightens me about Row 13

I flew to Shanghai from Hanoi last week on Vietnam Airlines. My seat was in Row 14, but I nearly kicked a passenger out of Row 15 because Row 13 didn’t exist and Row 14 followed Row 12. Apart from disturbing the orderly boarding of rational passengers, isn’t this rather silly?


I am not sure I want to trust an airline that panders to the superstition of its passengers. In any case, if a plane with a Row 13 went down, I can’t imagine that survival rates would be much affected by row number. Rows 1 to 99 would, I am certain, be quite impartially incinerated.

Vietnam Airlines is not alone in this silly practice, but British Airways, I am glad to say, flaunts a Row 13 with pride. They place their trust, as I do, in reason and engineering.

I don’t believe in luck. I walk on the cracks in pavements, I go looking for single magpies, I urge black cats to cross the road in front of me, I spill salt and don’t throw a pinch over my shoulder, I put new shoes on the table, I walk under ladders, I open umbrellas indoors, and I break windows without anxiety.  I ask for Row !3 and I look forward to Friday 13th. I court bad luck, but I don’t seem to be more afflicted by it than chance would predict.

3 thoughts on “What frightens me about Row 13

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