We’ve all been there. Boarding group D, resigned to your middle seat, and willing the flight to end quickly and turbulence-free. There’s a lot not to like about flying. I feel we can all definitively say that. Unless you’re one of the golden few who only flies first class, flying is normally a less-than-enjoyable experience.
There is one saving grace, however, that I’ve found makes flying (and the dreaded middle seat) much more bearable. And no, it’s not a mini airplane bottle of tequila. It’s podcasts!
Podcasts are perfect for planes since they provide endless hours of interesting commentary, fun facts, and exposes. While not proven fact, I feel strongly that time passes quicker when I have the methodic droning-on of my favorite podcasters going in my ears. So to help make your travel a bit better, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite podcasts to dig into on a plane ride.
*Please note, avid podcasting fans, that these are ranked in no particular order.
Perhaps it’s my penchant for black turtlenecks, but I’ve always found Elizabeth Holmes fascinating. The Dropout takes the listener through the tumultuous rise and fall of former Silicon Valley hotshot Elizabeth Holmes and her reign (of terror?) at the helm of medical-tech company Theranos. Fame, ambition, and deception all come together on The Dropout.
Listen to The Dropout here.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
Have you been missing seeing Conan on your TV each night? Conan Needs a Friend is Conan O’Brien’s chance to continue doing what he loves: interviewing interesting people. But this time there are no FCC regulations, no breaks for commercials, and no need to keep the interviews surface level. One podcast review laments accidentally driving an extra 100 miles because they were so transfixed with Conan. You’ll find any episode insightful and interesting, but a great jumping-off point is Conan’s interview with writer and humorist David Sedaris. Listen to it here, but be warned, snort-laughing may occur.
Listen to Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend here.
The Memory Palace
Got a small puddle jumper flight? Tune into the bite-sized stories presented on The Memory Palace. Host Nate DiMeo has been a pop culture reporter for NPR’s All Things Considered and written for such hit shows as NBC’s Parks and Recreation.
Listen to full episodes of The Memory Place here.
Has the presence of tiny packages of pretzels and peanuts got you wondering more about where your food comes from? GastroPod looks at food through the lens of science and history. Cohosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley dive into interesting explorations – like whether insect guts are the secret to fantastic kimchi and how American supermarkets broke out of their 1950 meat-and-potatoes mold and came to embrace kiwi and spaghetti squash.
Listen to GastroPod here.
My Favorite Murder
Are you looking for murder with a side of humor? Might I recommend My Favorite Murder – a true-crime podcast hosted by comedian Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark? Even if you’re not a big true-crime fan, Kilgariff and Hardstark are a powerhouse couple of humor and wit who have coined such fantastic catchphrases as “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.” Be careful with little ears though as this podcast can tackle some graphic subject matter and use PG 13 language.
Listen to full episodes and mini-episodes of My Favorite Murder here.
Ever wondered why there are so many awnings in New Orleans or how the world standardized concert pitches? 99% Invisible dives into the thought and design that goes into our world – the kind of design that you never really notice until it’s pointed out. In addition to learning more about the architecture and design, you’ll leave this podcast with a wealth of trivia-winning knowledge. Also, it was the Treaty of Versailles that standardized concert pitches. The more you know!
Listen to full episodes of 99% Invisible here.
Rick Rubin, Bruce Headlam, and Malcolm Gladwell come together on Broken Record to talk music and the stories behind the music we love. Gladwell’s methodic narration melds perfectly with Rubin and Headlam’s industry experience to create one of the most riveting podcasts out there. Broken Record has hosted a number of impressive guests like Tom Petty as he discusses the creation of “Wildflowers,” along with other luminaries like Norah Jones and Jack White.
Listen to full episodes of Broken Record here.
Everything is Alive
Ever wondered what it would be like if the Diet Cokes rattling around in the drink cart came to life? They would be great candidates to speak with Ian Chillag and Jennifer Mills. Everything is Alive is an interview show where every interview is conducted with an inanimate object. Still not convinced that this quirky podcast is for you? It’s received acclaim from outlets like the BBC, which called it poignant, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny.
Listen to full episodes of Everything is Alive here. (We recommend starting with the first episode and going in chronological order.)
Looking for a place to stay once you get to wherever your travels are taking you? Stay Alfred has spacious travel apartments in 32 cities across the US. Check out our properties here. And then put your tray tables up, laptops and other large electronic devices away. We’ll be on the ground in just a couple of minutes.