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When you travel, do you ever wonder how you can be that person who is always ahead of the pack, even when things go awry? Hosts Vinod Viswalingam (@VViswalingam) and Geoff Dahl (@geoffdahl) are proud to present The Seat 1A Podcast.

Seat 1A aims to provide savvy travellers with advanced industry based knowledge to enhance the air travel experience and take off from the crowd. By arming you with an understanding of the systems, processes, rules and structures that define modern air travel, Seat 1A strives to give you the upper hand by examining real experiences from abroad.

Whether traveling in ultra-economy or first-class, with or without frequent flyer status, knowing how the operation works will keep you moving in front of the masses, especially when things don’t go as planned. Seat 1A provides tips and tricks on how to make your travel experience as smooth and efficient as possible. Our goal is that you'll be in Seat 1A all the time!

We have over 5 million miles of flying and over 10 years working for numerous airlines, enjoying all classes and cabins, and exploring airports on every continent. We're enthusiastic #avgeeks, with a keen interest in modern aviation trends and aim to share our knowledge in The Seat 1A Podcast. To learn more about who we are, check out Experience 010!

The Seat 1A Podcast also relies on feedback from listeners, offering the chance to take real experiences and analyze them, breaking them down to understand what happened, where things went well or wrong and what can be learned from it. If you have a story, question or experience that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Experience 015 Show Notes. Railway to Runway - your train and the plane. The Seat 1A Podcast.

May 8, 2019

Recorded 28 April 2019

Written by: Geoff Dahl & Vinod Viswalingam

Listen to this experience wherever you download your podcasts - including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play and Overcast.

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In this experience, we look at railway to runway, using train services - that are often tied into the booking of your flight - to get to and from your airport. How does it work? How does it affect your baggage? Are you able to check in your bags at other airports besides the airport? What happens if your plane or train is late? Make sure you're catching the train at the right station. Vinny shares his city check-in experience at HKG. Does anyone still do curbside check-in? Shoutout to train travel writer extraordinaire Mark Smith – aka "The Man in Seat Sixty-One". If you're in a tough spot while, a train may be an option to get you to your short to mid-length destination. The railway to runway option is not limited to Europe...Taiwan has the option to book discounts on the high-speed rail system.

Vinny shares his experience train travelling in Hungary and missed his station stop – in the days before smartphones...and how a phone call to Geoff helped him get back on track. Geoff shares a plane to train experience – complete with Nietzsche. And you never know what you're experience you're going to have...even a train car singalong in Germany.

Jet Airways (9W) suspending operations.

Skift news item about credit card companies holding back ticket revenue from Norwegian (DY). Will Geoff run into problems when he flies them from OSL-JFK in a few months?

FlightGlobal news item about Firefly (FY) resuming flights from SZB to XSP. Vinny shares an experience from HKG-ZRH where he had to circle above the city to avoid a typhoon and an airspace restriction.

Business Traveller news item on Boeing 737 Max grounding leading to Air Canada (AC) cancellations and schedule amendments.

What happens when an airline swaps aircraft to a larger plane?

If you have a story, question or experience that you would like to share (including train travel stories), please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Patreon. Show notes are available online at


NEWS ITEMS | Jet Airways temporarily suspends all flights (18 April 2019)
"...Troubled Indian airline Jet Airways has temporarily suspended all its domestic and international flights after failing to find fresh funding.
The airline said its last flight would operate on Wednesday [17 April 2019] as it was not able to pay for fuel and other critical services..." | Norwegian Air Suffers as Credit Card Companies Hold Back Ticket Revenue (28 April 2019)
"...For air passengers, the nice thing about booking a ticket with your credit card is knowing you can probably get your money back if the carrier goes bust before you travel.
For cash-strapped airlines, the arrangement has a downside. If card providers are worried about a particular carrier’s finances, they can withhold more money on ticket sales from the company, potentially making its liquidity problem worse..." | Malaysia's Firefly resumes Singapore ops after airspace dispute (22 April 2019)
"...Two weeks after Singapore and Malaysia reached an agreement over an airspace dispute, Malaysia's Firefly resumed flights to Singapore via Seletar airport on 21 April.
In a media statement, Seletar operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) says the carrier will initially fly twice-daily between Subang and Singapore until 28 April, before operating six-daily services from 29 April..." | B737 Max grounding causes Air Canada Heathrow cancellations (26 April 2019)

"...Air Canada has been forced to make a number of changes to its network due to the ongoing grounding of the B737 Max.

Flights from Halifax and St John’s to London Heathrow have been suspended until July 31, as “alternative aircraft are not presently available”. The carrier stressed that it remains fully committed to these routes, and during the suspension would reaccommodate customers through its Toronto and Montreal hubs..."


  • Curbside check-in is still in effect at American Airports with numerous carriers
  • High speed rail gauge tends to be the same, however depending on the country it may be set on different trackage than non-high speed or freight trains
  • The interterminal train at New York JFK is named AirTrain


  • What's in this experience [00:00:46]
  • Railway to Runway what is it? [00:01:03]
  • How does railway booking work with your luggage? [00:06:16]
  • Vinny doing city check-in in Hong Kong [00:07:51]
  • The days of curbside check-in at American airports [00:09:02]
  • What would one normally do if getting off a flight and connecting to a smaller town? [00:10:25]
  • What happens if your inbound train breaks down? [00:12:36]
  • What if your inbound flight is delayed? [00:13:19]
  • Be aware that the train station might be a bit of a maze to get to [00:14:03]
  • Shoutout to Mark Smith and [00:16:03]
  • Using the train in crisis management situations [00:17:40]
  • Geoff helping Vinny with train info in the days before smartphones [00:25:32]
  • News Items [00:32:33]
    • Jet Airways suspends operations [00:32:37]
    • Norwegian Air Suffers as Credit Card Companies Hold Back Ticket Revenue [00:33:23]
      • Could this affect Geoff for a booked OSL-JFK flight? [00:34:07]
    • Malaysia's Firefly permitted to land in Singapore again...but not at Changi [00:35:46]
      • Vinny experienced Chinese airspace restrictions flying HKG-ZRH - in addition to a typhoon [00:38:26]
    • Air Canada schedule amendments due to 737 MAX groundings [00:41:03]
      • Vinny shares a story of a co-worker who has a 737 MAX swapped for a 787-9 [00:44:26]
      • Sometimes the plane type will be swapped out for a larger plane but new seats won't show for booking [00:45:18]
  • Show Wrap-up [00:47:11]