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Hello and welcome to Seat 1A!

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.

In the meantime please find us wherever you download your podcasts, and tell all your friends!

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Dec 27, 2019

In this experience we celebrate the 2019 holiday season with a look at some of our crazy and (somewhat) horrific holiday travel stories.

But first, Vinny and Geoff celebrate a milestone in this experience. This is the 25th show that they have done in tandem. Here's to the next 25 being just as fun of a ride.

Vinny shares his incredible journey from CPH-LHR-AMS-JFK-YHM-YYC-YVR during a massive New Year's storm in YYZ. How many things can go wrong for Vinny on this flight? So many that we interject a couple of stories from Geoff along the way. Although Vinny's story is related to a standby experience, remember that you too could be affected by weather and become a standby passenger.

Vinny starts his journey in CPH – it was just after New Year's – and world weather seemed normal, for now. He connects rather uneventfully to LHR and then AMS (little does he know what's coming). Flying standby on KLM he notices his flight options across Canada are quickly disappearing as there are no seats available. All US options were disappearing as well, except for JFK. So off to New York for Vinny.

Geoff shares his experience when he caught the flu just before having to fly from VIE-DUS (don't worry we're just sharing the travel experience). He makes it to VIE and manages to catch his flight – but when he arrives in a delirious state to DUS, just how many times can he catch the wrong train? The next day he catches the correct train to FRA for a connection to YYC with Air Canada...all the while missing the massive 2013 Ice Storm that hit Toronto. He arrives in YYC - only to be subject to a medical check first implemented after the SARS epidemic.

We return to Vinny who is now at JFK – but his bag isn't. The storm is brewing, and Vinny knows to get priority he needs to get to LGA. He learns about the "passenger rest area" at LGA – even with official blankets. He wakes up to find that LGA-YYZ flights are getting cancelled all over. But wait, there is a WestJet crew – maybe there's a chance? Disappointment awaits – how did the sand get in the engine? What hope is there left? Not much by air, the open road was the only thing left and there was some good fortune with rental costs. Just in time to drive through Manhattan at rush hour!

Geoff shares another winter holiday travel delay experience yet again caused by a blizzard at YYZ. Conditions meant that the YUL-YOW-YEG ticket became a standby ticket, but only the YUL-YOW segment could be confirmed. Some t-shirts were traded for hotel and meal vouchers since he wasn't flying further that day. Eventually he got back to YEG with an upgrade to business class. The key lesson in the adventure is to be nice to front line staff...honey will get your further than vinegar – but make sure you know your cancellation or delay rights.

We return to Vinny, in a rental car, in Manhattan at rush hour. No storm visible yet the sun is still shining. But as night falls the storm unleashes its fury. The storm is so terrible that it closes the Interstate. Vinny pushes on, blasting through the blizzard in Upstate New York on country roads – all the while having no proper winter clothing. Finally, he reaches the Canadian border in the wee hours of the morning – with snow caked on the back of his car – and the severity of the storm becomes fully known. Vinny has to get to another southern Ontario airport – YHM it is. But how to return the car – since it's not at YYZ and there is no return desk? Vinny leaves multiple notes and voicemails and parks the car hoping for the best as he boards the flight to connect at YYC. How does it turn out? Four hours after landing, where was Vinny? Back on a flight as crew!

Lessons from the experience: 1) Keep moving forward; 2) figure out what your biggest block of problem could be; 3) Be prepared that it might cost a bit of money to get out of a jam; 4) Look for telltale signs of things that are happening; 5) Make sure you have all of your alerts set up...and check the weather. Oh, and by the way...what happened to Vinny's WS travel buddy?

News Items:

  • Flyertalk article "The Best and Worst Airports for Holiday Travel"
  • breakingtravelnews article "Christmas getaway begins in earnest at easyJet"

Vinny and Geoff give big kudos to crews and staff working over Christmas. Here's to another great 25 experiences together.

If you have a holiday travel horror story, 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

(Sleighbells sound FX from GowlerMusic edited and mixed with other sound FX