Judaism has specific rules for times and directions for the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. And like everything in Judaism, there are endless opinions about when those times are. I spent much of the time before the Antarctica cruise studying these rules with experts and preparing for the mind-boggling implications of when to pray and even when Shabbos would fall out based on where we might be cruising at the time.
In-flight prayer times, or zmanim, are a major conundrum as you never know where you will be at what time. Chai Tables offers in-flight prayer times based on flights taking the Great Circle routing, but planes often don’t take the most direct routing. That’s especially true for flights since Russia closed off their airspace.
MyZmanim’s in-flight approach looks at recent routings, but again, past results don’t guarantee future performance.
A few months ago I spoke to my son’s class about those implications and how it would affect Sefiras Ha’omer and Shavuos based on the path of the flight. That came after this fascinating DDF thread on the topic and comparing Chai Tables with MyZmanim.
DDF member yandmk sent me some pictures of zmanim, including prayer times and direction, from the entertainment system on El Al’s 787s. How awesome is this?!?
The system is offered in both English and Hebrew:
You can also change from current location to other cities:
I am curious to see if they’re using the Great Circle to find the direction to Jerusalem, as was preferred by the Alter Rebbe, or the direct compass route. It would be great if there was a way to toggle between both opinions!
Either way, this solves a huge pain point for in-flight prayer times and directions.
It’s something that Arabic airlines also offer, except they pray 5 times a day and towards Mecca.
I reached out to El Al for comment, and they said that the system is still in beta testing, which is why they haven’t made an official announcement about this feature. They said that they are still working out some minor tweaks, but they are thrilled to offer this service and that there will be other new additions coming to keep an eye out for.
They also said that for now it will just be loaded on their 787s, but based on customer feedback, that may be expanded fleet-wide.
Kudos to El Al for adding this helpful feature!
What other features would you like to see El Al add to their entertainment system?
I want a good shiur with Bose noise cancelling headphones, lie flat seats, rishus cold champagne in a glass cup, and just check out of life. #IYKYK https://t.co/fVMEQKRvNX@ayilbasvach @DBashIdeas pic.twitter.com/kUlGmPo6l9
— DansDeals (@DansDeals) June 20, 2022
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35 Comments On "WOW! El Al Adding Present Location Zmanim To The 787 Entertainment System!"
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Cool but can we be sure it’ll be real-time and won’t the people who care most get hung up on which Shitta they do/don’t follow?
Economy Beds ala new zealand air
I saw this feature on my Elal flight 3 weeks ago, but it wasn’t working.
It’s in beta. Read the post nu
Just flew with them this week,the zmanim were off by 2 hrs.
That’s probably why it’s still being beta tested 🙂
Same here. I flew with this week, and it was for sure not accurate.
Now I want to know which library they’re using (such as KosherJava) 🙂
It says on the screen Kosherjava
I didn’t see that on my phone screen (at first, now I do). That’s awesome to see!
I’d like to see them fly to Toronto 🙁
That’s irrelevant to the zmanim
I’m not sure I’d want to rely on beta zmanim. I’ll wait 🙂
Don’t wait too long to daven otherwise you’ll for sure miss the zman…. 🙂
Lakewood Daf Yomi
Cool. This IS news worthy! Thank you Dan!
Wait till Ynet and the other anti-dat’s pick this up, I wouldn’t celebrate yer.
This could be helpful to those flying on fast days to know exactly when it starts and ends.
Interesting blog from Kosher Java on this topic:
It seems that ELAL is using the Kosher Java API. Look at the pictures.
Here is an article on KosherJava.com discussing Zmanim on the plane.
Funny that you posted this I’m curious what happens on Muslim long haul flights? Where do they bow?
I’m waiting for when they’ll serve warm beer in foam cups, lukewarm coffee in a becher, with onion-garlic flavored chocolate delicacies. Only then may the backlash be strong enough to initiate some meaningful change.
Dan what is this they give you a free flight and you do unlimited advertising for them
1. Let’s get the facts correct. I paid for my flight using Amex points for a paid fare. They upgraded me as I disclosed.
2. This is objectively awesome for the reasons explained in the post.
3. This was sent to me by a DDF member, not El Al.
4. El Al didn’t want me to write about this as it’s still in beta testing and they haven’t put out a press release for the media, but I’m not under an NDA and can write about things that readers send me. I reached out to the airline for comment to include in the story.
If you are in a window seat and can get a decent gps signal ,then there several android apps that have these zmanim extremely accurate to your location . Getting a gps signal is not always easy for some reason ,but from the window seats it usually works . The times may seem off because your phone or EL Als app is set to a different time zone from where you actually are . you just have to make sure to disregard your phone time which is set to your departure point and use the local time shown on the android app based on your gps location . I have used it many times and its cute to see the shkia or netz adjusting constantly much faster every few seconds as you are flying east .
Very tough in the 787 due to the composite fuselage.
Elal unfortunately has flights which in summertime depart the gate as early as 2 minutes after Shabbos (standard time – not 72-minute-type shitas) if the don’t by chance leave early. Those flights are boarding on Shabbos. So they’re sitting on the plane tinkering with the new entertainment system and they see “End of Shabbos in 30 minutes”. As the plane is pulling away from the gate the captain announces “For those who are interested, havdala will performed in the main cabin right after the safety instructions.”
I was sure they would do better than that when bought by Rozenberg.
blah, blah blah. Nonsense.
Please give an example of the flight schedule you’re referring to.
See schedules also for LHR-TLV and CDG-TLV on Saturday nights in June/July.
Kudos to El Al
Yes it works, used it last night.
i just flew and it was way off. for example 20 minutes after takeoff it said local time was 3 hours before tel aviv . the whole way it was clearly off.it doesn’t say on the screen that its in testing mode which can cause people to make mistakes,hopefully it will improve with time.
Check out this update: