• TravelTomorrow

Brawling for Seats and Heritage Travel

Updated: Mar 24


Brawling over airplane seats, what Jew oughta know about heritage travel with Birthright’s Jason Harris, and the Welsh word that takes homesickness to the next level.

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Show Notes:

First Stop:

This video of a man punching another passenger's seat on a flight from New Orleans to Charlotte started a lively discussion about tray tables and seatbacks. His outburst appeared to be a reaction to the fact that the woman in front him reclined her seat and he couldn’t.


The woman and impromptu camera person Wendi Williams told CNN that she moved her seat to the upright position when asked so the man behind her could eat from his tray table. When she moved it back, he punched her seat. Fox Business reports Williams is considering pressing charges against the guy behind her. TMZ said a flight attendant threatened to remove her from the flight. The airline (American Eagle) has said it's investigating.


Who do you think is the bigger jerk here? Him? Her? Everybody?


And no, you're not imagining it. The space between airplane seats is getting smaller. CNBC reports that the average seat pitch (the distance between seats) is about 31 inches for economy seats, and as low as 28 inches for some budget airlines. This airline seat pitch guide will tell you how your favorite airline measures up.


Do you recline or not?

We have a poll on @TravelTomPod on Twitter and @TravelTomorrowPod on Facebook and we really want to know what you think. (Selfishly, Alicia really wants validation that she's not the only seat-reclining jerk out there.)


Next Stop:

In this episode, Joe interviewed Jason Harris. Jason is the host and producer of Jew Oughta Know, a podcast about the Jewish people from Genesis to modern Israel. He's also Associate Director of HAMAQOM | The Place and an educator with a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis and master’s degrees in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University. Josh is also a former senior congressional staffer and he served as a Birthright Israel Experience Program Manager for over five years.


The interview began with a discussion of free Birthright trips and how they allow young people to connect with their heritage in an immersive way, then expanded to a conversation about the benefits and limitations of tours and heritage travel. This discussion touched on so many ways of experiencing the world that we (as people, not just journalists) value -- digging deeper into complex issues, experiencing a place first-hand, exploring the slippery nature of "the truth" about a place or a people.


What do you think?

Can any tour ever give us a complete picture of a place? Should they even try?

Is it ever appropriate to wander off from a tour?

What place did you need to see and experience to fully appreciate?


Language Love:

Hiraeth (Welsh): A deep, and often sad, nostalgic or romantic longing for home. This home may not be possible to return to.


Oh, this word is so appropriate for an episode about heritage travel. Isn't every return to an ancestral homeland about hiraeth -- a return to a lost time and place -- on some level?


What about you?

What makes you feel a sense of hiraeth?

Which places are on your heritage travel must-see list?

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