As a guest in Shul, I heard a Rav ask an interesting question. He inquired why Noach at the conclusion of the Mabul brought a Korban Olah and not a Todah, which would more appropriately parallel the Birkas HaGomel required of one who completed a sea journey?
He similarly asked a related query, when Yisro visited the Jewish People in the desert he responded to Moshe Rabbeinu’s description of the events by blessing Hashem. Chazal inform us that when the Bnei Yisroel answered Amein to his Bracha, they exempted themselves from Benching Gomel. The question arises, why hadn’t they said HaGomel weeks earlier on their own initiative?
He answered with an original idea. He suggested that there is a basic requirement for Birkas HaGomel that someone who was not involved in the Nes must hear the Bracha, and it is an intrinsic requirement to relate Hashem’s wonders to someone who did not experience them directly. According to this proposal, Noach could not Bench Gomel or bring a Todah, as there wasn’t a single person alive in the world who had not survived on the Teiva. Since they had all experienced the salvation personally, there was no obligation for them to recite HaGomel or bring a Todah. Similarly, since all of the Jewish Nation had exited Egypt and crossed the Red Sea together, they were incapable of reciting Birkas HaGomel until Yisro’s arrival.
However, I respectfully and privately pointed out to him that according to this Vort, there would be a very relevant practical application. If a group of people fly together and make a Minyan on arrival, if the Minyan consists exclusively of passengers from a single plane, they should not be allowed to recite Birkas HaGomel.
While I have no proof that this is untrue, the absence of any mention of such a Halacha is surprising. While air travel is a relatively recent phenomenon, there should be some mention of this condition regarding a caravan that travelled the desert together or passengers on a ship that transversed the ocean. Since there appears to be no precedent for this distinction, I must suspect it not the accepted Halacha.
The Rav concurred that it is inconceivable that passengers on a plane or ship could not Bench Gomel together, but he suggested differentiating between these cases and those of Noach and the Jewish People in the desert.