6 Podcasts About the Joys and Terrors of Air Travel

Starter episode: “Aviation Bill”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of a haunting aviation mystery. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and disappeared from air control radar 35 minutes later, vanishing somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Exhaustive searches turned up only scattered pieces of debris, which offered no answers about what happened to the flight. In this meticulous investigative podcast, Jeff Wise, a journalist and aviation expert, breaks down every detail of the story alongside his co-host, Andy Tarnoff. Over more than 25 episodes, the pair leaves no stone unturned as they explore different theories, digging into satellite data, clues from the search effort and the back story of the flight’s pilot to piece together answers.

Starter episode: “The First Vanishing”

Spun off in 2015 from a blog of the same name, “Layovers” is one of the longest running aviation podcasts out there. The hosts, Paul Papadimitriou and Alex Hunter, both spend a lot of time in the air (and in airport lounges), and share a fascination with the commercial aviation industry. In each episode, they talk about their latest travels, offer insights about different airline and aircraft experiences and review airports across the world. Whether you’re a fellow frequent flier, or just want to live vicariously through their travels and rapport, it’s a reliably fun listen.

Starter episode: “The 747 is forever, a London NY bridge at JFK T8, Air France lounge joie de vivre, 777 guillotine, the airport game”

Every season of this Wondery podcast consists of several mini-seasons, each exploring the dynamics between two competing brands. Over the course of seven episodes, “Boeing vs. Airbus” charts how Boeing became leader of the pack, beginning in the 1950s after a series of disasters involving its biggest competitor, the British manufacturer de Havilland. As Boeing continued to rise, European rivals banded together to create a worthy adversary in the form of Airbus, laying the groundwork for the duopoly that has existed ever since. Now that Boeing’s recent string of incidents has laid bare a culture of corner-cutting and lax safety protocols, the dynamics of that rivalry have shifted significantly in Airbus’s favor, making this exhaustive history feel all the more vital.

Starter episode: “Get Your Wings”

Produced by the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, Wash., and based in part around its collection, “The Flight Deck” is an invaluable resource for anyone feeling nostalgic or curious about air travel’s past. There are episodes exploring the gradual decimation of legroom on passenger flights, the chaotic origins of air traffic control and the story of the still-unidentified flight hijacker D.B. Cooper, plus wide-ranging interviews with pilots, astronauts, flight surgeons and more. The podcast recently began producing shorter seasons with specific themes ­— its third season, which aired last year, spotlighted L.G.B.T.Q.+ stories in aviation history.

You may also like...