Why Don't All Airlines Have a 13th Row?

Posted Apr 15th 2011 11:00 AMUpdated Apr 15th 2011 03:00 PM

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row 13 airplanes

David Parker Brown

Have you ever noticed while flying that some airlines have a 13th row and others don't? Some of the reasons why might surprise you.

Airlines around the globe that do not offer a 13th row actually make up a short list that includes: Air France, Iberia, Ryanair, AirTran, Continental Airlines, and Lufthansa. Some aren't even sure when and how the policy came about and others have a very interesting explanation.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines actually has some of its aircraft with a 13th row and others without. Alaska decided to order Boeing 737-800s and, "due to cancellations by other airlines, Alaska was able to practically buy the first couple right off the assembly line," said Geoff Pettis, Manager of Interior Engineering with Alaska Airlines. "However, this compressed time frame meant Alaska was not able to spec out [design] the cabin as would have normally happened."

To keep the layout consistent, Alaska continued to order new 800's without a 13th row, "but not because of any superstition," Pettis said.

AirTran does not offer a 13th row because passengers had expressed a desire not to sit there. That will be changing when the carrier is acquired by Southwest Airlines later this year. Southwest has stated the seating configuration will be reconfigured on AirTran's aircraft, including the addition of a 13th row.

The number 13 is not the only unlucky number for some cultures, and airlines have responded to that too. Lufthansa, which is based in Germany, does not have a 13th or 17th row. "The reason is that in Italy and Brazil, 17 is regarded as unlucky," Lufthansa spokeswoman Jennifer Janzen explained.

Currently Continental Airlines does not have a 13th row. "Many years ago, apparently, someone decided we wouldn't have a row 13 in our fleet," spokesman Andrew Ferraro told AOL Travel News. "We maintained the row numbering system for consistency as we brought new airplane types into the fleet."

But with the merger of United Airlines and Continental, row 13 might start disappearing on United Airlines's fleet as the two airlines align their seat row numbers to ensure consistency with their new brand.

"I believe the goal of airlines omitting it is to help reduce anxiety that fliers may have," said Matt Daimler, Founder of Seatguru.com. He also pointed out that rarely does the row number actually match the number of rows in an aircraft anyway, given factors such as the extra space taken up by first class.

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Glen

I think there are superstitions in many of todays societies/cultures. Should the whole world be subject to these superstitions? I personnaly have never had any "bad luck" surrounding the number 13 be it Friday or anything else. To each their own.

June 28 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ndavlin

It may be ridiculous, but even though the seats were better on an American flight to Hawaii, I refuse to sit on the 13th row. Also, I will not ride a plane that takes off out of gate 13. It's stupid and I know it, but it is what it is. And if a plane goes down, so does row 13, but you hear all the time how one person survives and in the row immediately behind them perish, so it gives room for superstition.

June 27 2011 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
memyself

i'm 12, next year i'll be 14

June 10 2011 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
THOMAS WASNOK

Geez, ever wonder why theres no 13th floor on multi-lever buildings?

June 09 2011 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to THOMAS WASNOK's comment
geo1284060

On some buildings, they use the 13th floor for mechanical functions (A/C, electrical, etc.) accessible only to the maintenance staff.

June 27 2011 at 4:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RedHookRican13

Soon Continental will be off that list (due to the merger with United), because United has Express jets with a 13th row.

June 04 2011 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JD

I am a retired purser from Northwest Airlines (now Delta). I had a passenger on a full flight assigned a seat in row 13 who demanded I move another passenger so she would not have to sit there. I quietly reminded her, that no matter what seat she might change to, if row 13 goes down, so do we all!

May 24 2011 at 11:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
bottomsup63

this is so stupid, I dont care if you start counting the rows, from the front of the aircraft or the rear,,,count the rows,,,there is a row between 12 and 14,,no way around it. simple math. Same goes for tall buildings,,,count from the bottom up or top down,, its simple math, there is a 13 between 12 an 14,,,,,get over it, and get a life,,there is NO way to eliminate the 13th floor or the 13th row,,,Just by skippping it in number assignments, does not eliminate the fact that it is there.....Does a child turn 14 after they are 12,,,I dont think so.

May 22 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
geo1284060

Oh, Yeah. I'm sure that most US airlines don't have a Flight 13.

May 22 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
geo1284060

Not just airliners......many airports don't have a Gate 13. Also, I work for an airline reservation office, and I had a passenger who was so superstitious, she was willing to fly to Europe without her family because their flight was on a Friday the 13th. She flew out the day before & spent a night in a hotel without them, and the rest of them flew out on the Friday.

May 22 2011 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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