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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 021 Show Notes. Screening and scanning. Getting through airport security. The Seat 1A Podcast.

Sep 17, 2019

Recorded 12 September 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 back on that fateful day on 11 September 2001 and how it changed the world of airport security forever.

Geoff and Vinny share their experience of that day and a story from Operation Yellow Ribbon at YXY. Vinny had a university project suddenly change in focus due to incredibly long wait times at YEG security. Geoff later joined him in YYC.

What exactly is pre-board screening and how do different airports do it around the world? Vinny shares his luxurious security experience at MAD, and shares his worst EVER experience at MAA. Geoff shares his extremely good security experience at DPS, but also his eternity to clear security at EWR.

Why is it that we only see massive lines in the US? Is there a different psyche? What are tips and practices you can do as a passenger to get through the security line more quickly?

Vinny shares his experience flying as a regular passenger after flying as crew for years. Straight blade razors – who knew that they could be such a cause of inconsistency at security?

Simple Flying news item about Alaska Airlines (AS) encouraging customers to bring their own bottles.

Flyertalk / Indo-Asian News Service news item about Air India (AI) having issues with fuel payments causing restrictions at six domestic Indian airports.

Flyertalk / BBC news story of security at DEL catching an 32-year-old trying to impersonate an 81-year-old complete with disguise.

If you have a story of airport pre-board security, question or other experience that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Patreon. Show notes are available online at


NEWS ITEMS | Alaska Airlines Encourages Customers To Bring Their Own Bottles (12 September 2019)
"...Alaska Airlines is encouraging passengers to bring their own refillable water bottles onto flights. The move comes as the North American airline looks to reduce single-use plastics onboard aircraft..." | Oof. Air India’s Financial Situation Gets Embarrassing (24 August 2019)
"...State-owned fuel suppliers at six airports in India are refusing to provide jet fuel for Air India planes because of a dispute over a large outstanding balance owed by the flag carrier (which is also state-owned)..." | This (Unsuccessful) Master of Disguise Tried to Sneak Past Airport Security (12 September 2019)
"...With a pretty clever disguise and a fake passport and visa to the United States, a 32-year-old man from India was caught impersonating an 81-year-old man while trying to get through security at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and board a plane to the U.S., where he planned to find work..."



  • What's in this experience? [00:00:47]
  • September 11, 2001. [00:01:15]
  • Geoff shares his experience from that fateful morning. [00:01:37]
  • Operation Yellow Ribbon. [00:04:11]
  • Vinny's memories of that morning. [00:05:00]
  • Korean Air 85 had to land at YXY but then had difficulty getting out later. [00:07:59]
  • We're discussing pre-board security that evolved after 9/11. [00:09:35]
  • How were things before 9/11? [00:09:48]
  • How the non-flying public used to be able to go to the gate area. [00:10:17]
  • Airport architecture design was forced to change in the US. [00:11:00]
  • Vinny shares ATL boarding area experience from 1997. [00:11:56]
  • Geoff's 2000 boarding area experience at EWR. [00:13:34]
  • Vinny had a time and motion project at YEG security - 9/11 totally changed what to review. [00:15:03]
  • Geoff joins the time and motion study at YYC. [00:17:01]
  • Remembering only one table existing for you to put your stuff on at security. [00:19:09]
  • Pre-board screening - what is it exactly? [00:20:33]
  • The differing styles of security check. [00:21:41]
  • Review of our good and bad security experiences this summer. [00:23:27]
  • Vinny's luxurious experience at MAD. [00:24:07]
  • VIP Security screening. [00:24:53]
  • Seat 1A security check tip if you're running late. [00:25:41]
  • Vinny's worst ever security check was at MAA. [00:27:31]
  • Geoff's security experience - best experience was at DPS. [00:34:02]
  • Geoff's wait times taking forever at EWR. [00:35:48]
  • Why is it only in the US that we seem to encounter massive security lines? [00:39:57]
  • US security psyche - Geoff's experience at MSP. [00:40:29]
  • Security staff are not the airline staff. [00:42:28]
  • Seat 1A tip - what do you need to be pulled forward through security? [00:42:52]
  • What do you need to do beforehand to express yourself through long security queues. [00:44:44]
  • Are there more than one checkpoint to go through? [00:45:29]
  • Check the details of the inflight magazines. [00:46:40]
  • There are times when you're justified to call out slow security screening. [00:47:23]
  • There also can be extra screeners asking questions before you can board. [00:48:05]
  • How can frequent flyers be so unprepared in the security line? [00:49:59]
  • Prepare your liquids and laptop before you get to the security line for quick access. [00:50:55]
  • Untie your shoelaces or wear slip on shoes. [00:51:34]
  • People who don't move their claimed stuff to the end and hold up the scan processing. [00:52:13]
  • Some airports give you a claim card to be able to collect your bag. [00:53:41]
  • If you get your bag pulled for manual inspection, know what's in your bag. [00:54:31]
  • Vinny's security experience as a regular passenger after years flying as crew. [00:55:25]
  • Geoff shares his experience at YQR, where a passenger thought he knew the rules. Spoiler - he didn't. [00:56:00]
  • Vinny shares security inconsistencies with a straight blade razor. [00:57:06]
  • The evolution of what sharp metal you can clear security with. [01:02:17]
  • Some airports still have option to post or courier sharp metal objects. [01:03:30]
  • News Items. [01:03:48]
    • Alaska Airlines Encourages Customers To Bring Their Own Bottles. [01:04:09]
    • Fuel supply to Air India stopped at 6 airports. [01:06:07]
  • Vinny's going to save his AI experience for an upcoming experience. [01:07:29]
    • This (Unsuccessful) Master of Disguise Tried to Sneak Past Airport Security. [01:07:52]
  • Show Wrap-up. [01:09:51]