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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 023. Show Notes. Sometimes the situation just goes bad. Making the most of the experience. The Seat 1A Podcast.

Nov 4, 2019

Recorded 01 November 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 Vinny and Geoff share more of their experiences when, try as they may, the situation just went badly.

First of all, we want to send a shoutout to fellow podcasters Plane Talking UK. We're lining up co-hosting in an upcoming episode of theirs. Stay tuned for more info.

By popular demand, we're sharing more of our travel experiences – good, bad and ugly – and how we worked at resolving them or made the best of the situation.

Shoutout to Sam Chui for his review of the Air India (AI) Dreamliner business class experience.

Vinny shared a rant about the security experience at MAA in Experience 021 from his RTW trip in the summer of 2019. The rant is back in this experience with full force for his experiences with Air India (AI) – both for in-flight experiences from SIN-MAA-CMB, and one of the top three worst ever lounge experiences he ever had at MAA. You might need a cold lassi after listening to the rant.

Geoff shares his multiple ground travel experiences trying to get from Penang to Kuala Lumpur in July 2019. First the train Google says he should take didn't exist, and then there was a ticket circus with the bus ride that he took instead.

Vinny pulls out a story from his vault of crazy experiences – this time in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2003 hitchhiking to make a train connection to get to Helsinki. But what happens when he missed the connection? (Hint – he got to Helsinki and experienced a Tupolev Tu-134).

Geoff shares his overnight ground transport experience at SIN from his summer 2019 RTW trip. Where was the shuttle that was supposed to leave every 15 minutes? Sometimes waiting ends up being worth it – thanks to a great family from Perth who shared sightseeing advice.

Vinny shares a recent experience from autumn 2019 at SFO. How to get to the Caltrain station to take him into the city, with minimal signage and lack of directions from Google transit. Not only that, where and how did he have to pay for the ticket?

Geoff shares a terrific airside tour experience he had in October 2019 at YYZ. Thanks to Russ, Mark and Haaz for their great work and wealth of information.

News Items:

  • Independent (UK) article "Airline passenger stuffs laptop down her jumpsuit and pretends to be pregnant to avoid excess baggage charge"
  • Associated Press article "TSA finds gun-shaped toilet paper roller in bag at airport"

If you have a story of when your situation just went bad, a question or other experience that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. Show notes are available online at




NEWS ITEMS | Airline passenger stuffs laptop down her jumpsuit and pretends to be pregnant to avoid excess baggage charge (28 October 2019)
"...A budget airline passenger stuffed her belongings down the front of her jumpsuit to form a pregnancy “bump” in a bid to avoid paying the excess baggage fee.

Travel writer Rebecca Andrews almost pulled off the innovative stunt while flying from Melbourne to Sydney with Jetstar, before being found out at the last minute..."


AP News | TSA finds gun-shaped toilet paper roller in bag at airport (31 October 2019)
"...NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Transportation Security Administration agents at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport uncovered a more decorative than deadly item when they checked a passenger’s carry-on.

Agents on Tuesday thought there was a gun in the bag when they put it through the X-ray machine. However, a closer inspection revealed a gun-shaped toilet paper roller. The realistic replica gun was designed to spin paper instead of bullets..."


  • Singapore Changi Airport also has a 50% surcharge on taxi fares from 1200AM to 0600 AM.
  • Heathrow Connect was taken over by TfL rail 20 May 2018



  • What's in this experience. [00:00:46]
  • Request for more of our experiences. [00:01:00]
  • Shoutout to Plane Talking UK. [00:01:22]
  • Try as you might, sometimes the situation just goes bad. [00:02:10]
  • Vinny continues his rant about his Air India and Chennai Airport Experience. [00:02:44]
  • Vinny was trying to get from SIN to MAA and maximize a layover. [00:03:04]
  • AI flight SIN-MAA-CMB with a long layover in MAA. [00:04:09]
  • SIN-MAA was first listed using a 787-8. [00:04:54]
  • MAA-CMB on an A320 - with Air India's bizarre way of limiting inflight entertainment. [00:05:05]
  • Card with a caricature on the bulkhead instead of the IFE. [00:05:42]
  • Pulling the fabric over the screen for in-seat IFE. [00:06:01]
  • Shoutout to Sam Chui for his 787 AI business class review. [00:06:34]
  • Equipment switch on SIN-MAA - no more 787 for Vinny. [00:06:45]
  • The first flight leg from SIN-MAA. [00:07:28]
  • The plane was new, the service was lacklustre...poof the inflight crew disappeared - minimal service. [00:07:50]
  • Vinny and his incredibly bad MAA lounge experience. [00:09:38]
  • One of the top 3 worst lounges for Vinny, anywhere, ever. [00:10:23]
  • Wait until you hear who was eating the food at the buffet. [00:11:22]
  • Cold coffee, warm juice, filthy facilities. [00:11:53]
  • How does it take 10 minutes to get a WIFI code at the lounge? [00:12:41]
  • Boarding fun in MAA for the next flight. [00:13:42]
  • Multiple unnecessary passport checks after the gate. [00:14:31]
  • The old, filthy Air India inflight experience from MAA-CMB. [00:15:18]
  • Vinny advises to look for another option besides Air India if you can. [00:16:29]
  • Switching to ground transport. [00:17:47]
  • Geoff's multiple ground transport issues in Penang. [00:18:07]
  • Google maps gave a train schedule for a non-existent train. [00:18:28]
  • Since the train didn't exist, Geoff decided to take the bus to Kuala Lumpur. [00:19:05]
  • Geoff made the mistake of not checking which bus was the fastest. [00:19:34]
  • Geoff's ticket circus with the bus company. [00:20:18]
  • Vinny pulls out a memory from St. Petersburg, Russia. [00:23:40]
  • Vinny had a train booked from St. Petersburg to Helsinki. [00:24:00]
  • Vinny and his urban hitchhiking experience. [00:24:41]
  • You're going the wrong way! [00:26:26]
  • ...and Vinny misses the train. [00:27:06]
  • Hmmm...How much is a flight? [00:27:22]
  • Vinny ended up flying on a Tupolev Tu-134. [00:29:13]
  • Geoff's late-night ground transport experience at SIN. [00:30:34]
  • MRT is closed after midnight in Singapore. [00:30:59]
  • Geoff decides to wait it out. [00:31:43]
  • Take the time to study the demographics of your airport. [00:32:50]
  • Vinny's experience at SFO. [00:33:31]
  • Vinny was taking the Caltrain to the city but had to take a bus to get to the station. [00:33:38]
  • Vinny searches for the bus to get him to the Caltrain station. [00:34:58]
  • Lack of directional signage at SFO. [00:35:39]
  • Google Maps not giving clear directions either. [00:36:31]
  • How to pay - no ticket machines anywhere. [00:37:21]
  • No paper tickets, just an app. [00:38:26]
  • Airports generally try to make it easy to at least get small change. [00:39:47]
  • Vinny at Millbrae station, trying to figure out signage and delay notifications. [00:40:52]
  • Geoff airside tour at YYZ. [00:42:40]
  • News Items. [00:45:35]
    • Airline passenger stuffs laptop down her jumpsuit and pretends to be pregnant to avoid excess baggage charge. [00:45:42]
    • TSA finds gun-shaped toilet paper roller in bag at airport. [00:47:21]
  • Wrap up. [00:48:35]