October 31 2011 by Mike Mason
Often it's the little things that make a big difference. And for those who are superstitious, one superstitious blunder or forgotten lucky item is believed to begin a shower of bad luck. With so many components and moving parts when traveling, it's no surprise that travel can invoke an extra superstitious nature in many individuals and companies. Take a look at some of the superstitious measures taken by travelers and travel companies I've seen during my travels.
If you fly Continental Airlines, Air France, AirTran, or KLM you're boarding pass will never see row 13. All of these airlines go from row 12 to 14. But even those who aren't particularly suspicious say if given the option they'd prefer not to sit in row 13. So why not eliminate the row altogether?
Many hotels have followed suit by eliminating the thirteenth floor. And taking what some may say drastic measures is actually fairly common. Based on an internal review of records, Dilip Rangnekar of Otis Elevators estimates that 85 percent of the buildings with elevators did not have a floor named the 13th floor.
The airline industry has also noticed a decrease in traffic on the 13th of the month, especially on Friday the 13th.
Many frequent travelers have a certain way about doing things, especially once in the airport. A couple I know who travels internationally frequently eats at the same noodle shop in the Hong Kong airport, no matter what terminal they arrived in. Another traveler said he listens to the same song, Van Halen's "Top of the World," before every takeoff. Perhaps it's just more efficient or comfortable to do something routine, but it borders on a personal superstitious acts.
In the realm of superstitions lucky charms are common, but if forgotten when traveling it is believed to reroute your destination to "bad luck" land, with a delay in "difficult" city. Some of the most common charms are a lucky coin, a charm bracelet, a rabbit's foot, a dream catcher, a four-leaf clover, and a horseshoe.
Sit for a Spell...on your Bags
In Russia before one embarks on their journey the traveler sits on their luggage. It is also bad luck to return to get something forgotten before traveling. The rationale for taking a load off atop their clothes is varied. Some say it's to really think about all that is packed so if something has been omitted it can be packed before leaving without it. Others say it's simply to take a moment to mentally prepare for the trip ahead of them.
What are some of your travel superstitions? Has your trip ever been "cursed" with bad luck because you committed a superstitious faux pas?