Dilemmas of Air Travel Davening

I’m in the Holy Land and I’ll post about the amazing the Shuls and minyanim there in future weeks. Today I’ll discuss air travel davening dilemmas .

It started in JFK International at the gate. Our flight was for 6:00 pm and I saw a Mincha minyan at the gate with tentative plans for a right-after-sunset, Maariv. However, because boarding began, the Maariv never got off the ground. So I was faced with the classic plane davening dilemma, with a minyan or at you seat.

Among Ashkenazi poskim, the default seems to be to daven by yourself at your seat, so as not to disturb the crew or the passengers. However in this particular situation, I asked a steward if we could make a minyan in the middle galley. I said if it’s a problem, we wouldn’t do it. He said if we would wait until after dinner and didn’t block the aisle we could daven with aminyan. It worked out we and we made the Maariv with a minyan, despite a little turbulence during Shemoneh Esrai.

Shacharis on the plane was complicated by putting on Talis and Tefillin in a small space, and by the fact that there was a small time window starting from about 1:30 AM New York time within which to daven Shacharis. (If you’re travelling, you can go to myzmanim.comto see the davening times for your flight.) I decided to daven alone at my seat, but later in the flight there was a Shacharis minyan on the plane. It looked like it was uneventful and not disturbing to the passengers.

If you usually try to daven with a minyan, road trips can be a challenge. You need to carefully evaluate the situation to decided when to go it alone.

3 thoughts on “Dilemmas of Air Travel Davening”

  1. Rebbeim from both of the shules where I davened in America (pre-aliyah) and my rav here in Israel all say that one should daven at the seat when flying. I tried davening with a minyan once last year, but it was huge and impossible to hear anything. I’ll stick to davening at my seat.

  2. Rabbi Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach, Halichos Shlomoh, 1:95-96:
    It is better to pray Shemoneh Esrai sitting down than to stand in the aisle
    of an airplane, both because of concentration and consideration of others.

    SOURCE: Relevance Pirkei Avot (page 107)
    by Rabbi Dan Roth, year 2007 CE, Feldheim Publishers

    Rabbi Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach was born 1910 CE and died in 1995 CE.

  3. Sefer Chasidim, chapter 18:
    If you are sitting in a ship or wagon, then stand and pray if you are able to.
    And if not, then sit in your place and pray.

    Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid was born 1150 CE and died in 1217 CE.

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