Braille Monitor February 1986
by Kenneth Jernigan
An airplane is a complex piece of machinery. In many ways it symbolizes the apex of technology which twentieth century civilization has achieved. As any philosopher will tell you, morality and ethics go hand in hand with technological advancement. The airline industry personifies the quintessence of the principle.
And in the concept of safety for the passenger technology and ethics meld. Science and morality blend--a marriage of mind and spirit, soul and body. When it comes to safety, the airlines have spared no cost, either in money or genius. Their rules and procedures are firmly grounded in proven fact and unshakable science.
On December 4, 1985, Marc Maurer was at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. He called certain airlines with searching questions, which elicited abstruse answers. He learned that four airlines (Continental, Eastern, Ozark, and TWA) do not have a row of seats numbered thirteen. The pattern is to have rows numbered one through twelve, followed by fourteen through whatever.
It is, of course, a well established scientific fact that there is a high correlation between safety and the avoidance of the number thirteen. By extension, this law (which we may designate as the "airline safety law") would further enhance the safety of passengers by prohibiting black cats from crossing runways, humans from walking under ladders, and umbrellas from being opened in buildings. E = M C squared.