Dec 23, 2022

The Flight Before Christmas

At any given moment, nearly 500,000 people are crammed together in a metal tube, hurtling through the air. In this episode, we look at the strange human experiment that is flying together.

Special thanks to Natalie Compton, Julia Longoria, Mike Arnot, and everyone at Gate Gourmet.


Reported by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael Cusick
Produced by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael Cusick
With Production help from - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
Original music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom
and mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Natalie A. Middleton
Edited by  - Pat Walters



Lou Boyer, the animal-flying pilot from our episode, has a great plane-forward Instagram account ( As well as a whole YouTube channel ( dedicated to snakes and planes. (Luckily, not both at the same time.)


Richard Foss's Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies (

Michael Heller's and James Salzman's Mine: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control our Lives (


The Death, Sex and Money series Estrangement (

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


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