Getting paid to fly, part 2

There is a drug company that has a drug that has been approved for treating a number of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy and helping folks stay awake working the graveyard shift.  So now that company wants to use the same drug to “treat” jetlag.  I say put the word treat in quotes because it really isn’t a medical condition, much like “erectile dysfunction” but the drug companies don’t really care about things like that as long as they get to sell their wares.

In order to be able to market the drug as effective against jetlag the company has to test it against jet lag.  And that means human trials against people who actually are suffering from jetlag at that moment in time.  To do so in a controlled manner they’ve set up a clinical trial that involves a sleep test in the United States followed by a flight to Europe to induce jet lag and more tests over a three day period in France. 

So participants in the study get to fly in a private jet from New York to France (technically the plane lands in Switzerland but the Basel airport has exits on both sides of the border) and then undergo sleep testing in their facility there.  The flights and everything associated with the stay in France are free, though apparently the food leaves something to be desired.  And it pays $2500 for a few days’ efforts.  Not a bad gig.  I’ve enrolled in the study and am scheduled to fly in a couple weeks, assuming I pass the first sleep test in the NYC facilities.  Apparently they’ve been having trouble getting enough people who can pass the initial sleep test in NYC (only something like 25% of folks have made it to the flight stage).  I’m hopeful I make the cut.

If you want more info, check out their site here or read some of the discussion about the program here.  Oh, and no frequent flier miles since it is a private jet and you don’t actually get to do anything but look out the window in France.  Plus no alcohol or caffeine during the testing period.  So clearly some drawbacks.  But it makes for an interesting story.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.