Air travel has become a regular part of life. But we Jews don’t do anything in a regular way do we? Let’s have a look at how Jews like to fly the friendly skies.

Purchasing Tickets

Jews are the only people who feel like we have to purchase tickets for nationalistic reasons. Who else would spend an extra $400 on a flight with smaller seats, screaming children and a group blocking the aisles for prayers? We do it because that is our way of supporting Israel.

Jews can’t book flights at the last minute. Chances are we won’t get food. We need at least a few weeks to ensure we get kosher food. This is why we plan our trip for Pesach a good six months in advance. We’re worried we’ll have to spend three hours with leftover cholent from home.

When booking too late, sometimes you have to hope that somebody else doesn’t get their food. Your goal is for them to go hungry, so that you can get the stewardess to give you their kosher meal. It’s about survival. When you see Jews praying on a flight, they’re praying that somebody ordered kosher food and doesn’t want it anymore.

International Flights

I’ve never been on an international flight where there wasn’t a Jew. Domestic, yes. But not international. No religious Jew flies domestic. We take the minivan.

We specifically look on a site that has deals from this guy, Dan. No matter when the flight is, we take it. If Dan has a good deal, we travel when we don’t want to. My nephew’s Bar Mitzvah is on the fourteenth, I am going in on the twenty-seventh. Dan had a deal. I’ll turn it into a holiday of some sort and bring a present for the young man a few weeks after his Bar Mitzvah is over.

Security

We have to show up forty five minutes earlier. That’s how much time it takes to explain Tefillin. Calling them phylacteries doesn’t help convince airport security that they’re not a bomb. I’ve tried explaining the straps going through the boxes before. That doesn’t help. They didn’t like my explanation of how I strap the Tefillin to my arm. They claimed that it’s not safe when people of faith strap devices to themselves. By the time I prove that there is no liquid inside, it’s taken forty minutes and now I have five minutes to put my shoes back on.

Food Service

We get served food first. This is the one perk of keeping kosher, and the reason why many hypoglycemic people order food with rabbinic supervision – they just can’t wait to eat. Kosher comes first, and this is why people hate Jews. Finally, I bring you the reason for anti-Semitism.

Thankfully, I don’t know what it’s like to go hungry on a plane but I imagine it’s quite distressing. I see these people sitting there, all trying to figure out why the steward is walking around with one tray of food in his hands and nothing else. They’ve got to be worried when they see that tray land right in front of me, thinking why I am so important that I get the only food on the flight.

Snacks

We have to figure out if the snack is kosher. That is never easy. Trying to find the kosher symbol on a silver wrapper in the dark is hard. It’s even harder when your neighbor is mad you need the reading light on, blinding him with your wrapper. When traveling through Europe, where they have no kosher symbols on food products and Jews simply guess if stuff is kosher, determining the kosher status based on how appetizing the dish looks divided by hunger, you’ve got to spend a good twelve minutes debating if the wheat is kosher. If you’re hungry enough and have to ask the Finnish stewardess if the pretzels are kosher, that’s a good twenty minutes of explaining what kosher is. That will make for more anti-Semites.

Seating

We have big families. That’s why we make sure to sit our children somewhere else. Children can be very annoying on flights. This is why you make sure to not sit next to yours. Booking the tickets for these young ones allows you to know where the good seats will be.

Announcements

Other than letting me know that it was a bad idea to sit by the emergency exit, as I am too tired to help anybody, just tell me if the snacks are kosher. That’s all I want to know. If the pretzels have an OU, please announce it. If not, please keep it down I’m trying to nap.

Movie

For me as a religious Jew, on an airplane is the only time I can watch a movie without feeling guilty that I’m not learning Torah. How can you learn Torah, you will get motion sickness. This is why many religious Jews like to vacation on ships. It’s the only truly guilt free vacation. They don’t feel bad not learning Torah, and it’s hard for their mom to reach them there.

Just make sure your headphones are off when they make the announcements. For some reason, headphones triple the announcement volume. It’s a sort of divine punishment for watching something you shouldn’t.

Smile at Stewardess when Disembarking

We do it, as we are trying to make for less anti-Semitism. It’s not a show of appreciation. After asking them about the kosher snacks, asking them to syphon food from a fellow traveler, involving them in the discussion of how we booked our flight too late, telling them about this guy Dan that we never met, scaring them with our Tefillin, and bringing extraordinary amounts of children on this flight, the least we can do is smile.