Does the idea of boarding an airplane on the unluckiest day on the calendar freak you out? You’re not alone. Many people suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, otherwise known as “fear of something bad happening on Friday the 13th.”
According to a survey conducted by the London Times earlier this year, many people decide to cancel any travel plans for Friday the 13th. Customers are not the only ones worried about venturing out on this gloomy day. Some airlines have been known to not book seat number 13 and many hotels will avoid using room number 13 if possible on this day.
So why Friday the 13th? Well historians have traced the fear of the number 13 all the way back to the ancient law Code of Hammurabi, which was created in 1790 BC and did not use the number 13 in its list of rules. Friday was not attached to this irrational belief until the early 20th century when an unusual Boston stockbroker named Thomas Lawson wrote a book entitled Friday the Thirteenth. It was a story about an evil businessman that attempted to crash the market on the ominous day that we all know and loathe today. The book sold well, was turned into a silent movie, and the rest is superstitious history.
But it is going to take a lot more than just a number landing on a day of the week to stop me from flying. Just eight months ago, Friday March 13, I took off on a flight to Toronto for a long weekend trip. No white knuckle trip for me. Instead I enjoyed a little bag of peanuts, a tiny can of soda, and a thumbnail sized bottle of whiskey all without any fears of my plane taking a nose dive somewhere over the Adirondack Mountains.
In fact booking a flight on this day is probably more welcoming since I know that many people will be avoiding the airports. That leaves me with fewer annoying fellow passengers clogging up the security checkpoint lines and possibly even an empty seat next to me on my flight.