03/28/2012 03:50 pm ET

Will JetBlue Captain's Frenzy Lead To The Retirement Of A Flight Number?

A day after a crazed JetBlue captain tried to barge into the cockpit of the plane he was co-piloting to Las Vegas, Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal asked in his Middle Seat Terminal column whether the plane's flight number, 191, came with baggage.

In the article, McCartney stated that flight number 191 was the "most tragic" of flight numbers, noting such tragedies as Delta Air Lines Flight 191, which crashed before landing in Dallas in 1985, killing 137 and a 1979 American Airlines flight 191, which crashed into a field, killing 271 people.

Commenters on the article noted that there were other incidents not mentioned, including Comair Flight 5191, which crashed in Kentucky, killing 49, among others.

According to McCartney, both Delta and American have retired those flight numbers as airlines retire numbers after an incident. When reached for comment by The Huffington Post, JetBlue said they had "no intention" of retiring the flight number at this time.

In May 2011, United Airlines caught flak for accidentally reusing flight numbers 93 and 175, the numbers of the United aircraft used in the 9/11 attacks.

The broader question remains: Are flight numbers retired out of courtesy or superstition? After all, many airlines remove row 13 when they order airplanes for their fleets -- some international airlines, such as Lufthansa, eliminate row 17, as it is seen as bad luck in Italy and Brazil, a spokesman for the airline told AOL Travel last year.

Similarly, a 2007 Gallup/USA Today poll showed that 13% of people would be bothered to stay on the 13th floor of an hotel.

Should airlines retire flight numbers after crashes but not incidents such as the JetBlue captain freakout? Or is flying so nerve wracking that there should there be a blanket rule about retiring flight numbers involved in any incident whatsoever?

Check out passengers' videos and news reports on Tuesday's pilot meltdown below.



JetBlue Pilot Freaks Out