Have you ever wanted to be trapped in a metal tube for half a day? Long airline flights can be difficult, mostly because they’re extremely boring. Many airlines come with entertainment systems, but watching multiple movies in a row can get exhausting. For me, podcasts have always been the way to go when I want to pass time on a long flight. A lot of the shows I listen to are goofy and casual, just a couple of friends joking around, but the best podcasts for a long flight are usually very serialized, heavily-reported stories. Why? Because it’s something that will actually sustain your attention for a long period of time.
If you’re looking for the best podcasts for a long flight, take a look at these gripping shows and limited series.
You Must Remember This
“You Must Remember This” by Karina Longworth is a beloved podcast all about Hollywood’s first century. This podcast boasts an incredible library of episodes all about the silver screen. One of the best things about “You Must Remember This” is that Longworth breaks the podcast up into series of episodes devoted to different subject. My personal favorite series are “Six Degrees of Song of the South,” “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” and “Dead Blondes.” Longworth’s meticulous research and soothing voice make “You Must Remember This” one of the most compelling podcasts out there. Before you get on the plane, make sure you’ve downloaded all the episodes in the series that you want to listen to!
“Song of the South” Runtime: ~5 hours
“Manson” Runtime: ~8 hours
“Dead Blondes” Runtime: ~9.5 hours
30 for 30
Based on the ESPN documentary series, “30 for 30” is a podcast about all the most fascinating moments in sports culture. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy this podcast – I know I’m not. The stories are sure to enthrall any listener. My personal favorite seasons of “30 for 30” are “The Sterling Affairs” and “Bikram.” “The Sterling Affairs” tells the story of “the worst owner in sports history,” the complicated history of basketball in Los Angeles and the power of real estate. “Bikram” tells the story of the rise of Bikram Choudhury’s brand of hot yoga – and how he eventually began to abuse that power.
“The Sterling Affairs” Runtime: ~4 hours
“Bikram” Runtime: ~3 hours
Over My Dead Body: Joe Exotic
The story of Joe Exotic (zookeeper, traveling magician, YouTuber, presidential hopeful, local celebrity, lord of the tigers, etc.) is so bizarre that you’ll never want to stop listening. “Over My Dead Body,” a true crime podcast, dedicates an entire season to Joe Exotic’s rise and fall. And trust me, there’s a big fall.
Runtime: ~4 hours
The Dream, Season One
I have recommended “The Dream” over and over, and I’m not going to stop now. Season one of Jane Marie’s podcast, “The Dream,” is all about the world of multilevel marketing schemes, or MLMs. Marie interviews a participant in the “airplane games” of the 1980s, goes deep into multilevel marketing’s ties to the White House and even has a former cosmetics marketer try (and fail) to make money selling makeup through an MLM. This show is shocking, funny and sometimes even enraging. Season two, airing right now, is about the wellness industry, and it’s shaping up to be just as good as the first season.
Runtime: ~7 hours
StartUp: Success Academy
“StartUp” is a podcast about (you guessed it) start-ups. In the beginning, it was mostly about the birth of Gimlet Media (the podcast company) but over the years, its covered everything from the beginning of Friendster, to the meltdown of American Apparel, to the process of “planting” new churches. “Success Academy” is a series about the eponymous Success Academy, a relatively young network of charter schools in New York City. Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz has grown Success into one of the highest-performing schools in the city, so why is the school facing so much criticism? “StartUp” investigates every facet of the issue, from the perspectives of employees, students, families and education experts. There are no easy answers in this series, which makes it an incredibly rewarding listening experience.
Runtime: ~6 hours
John Meehan seemed like the perfect guy – a single, attractive doctor who wanted to take Debra Newell out on a date. But Debra’s daughters were suspicious. What was John really after? Reported by Chris Goffard of the Los Angeles Times, “Dirty John” is one of the best limited series podcasts out there. Just when you think the story is winding to an end, things get even weirder. With all of its unbelievable twists and turns, it’s one of the best podcasts for a long flight.
Runtime: ~4 hours
Have you ever prepared for your flight by downloading a bunch of podcasts? Which are the best podcasts for a long flight in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for more? Check out my articles on the best limited series podcasts, the best road trip podcasts and the best podcasts for sleep and relaxation.