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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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Jun 2, 2020

In this experience we look at the different roles of people that normally work at an airport – who's who at the zoo?

In most cases the airline is either at a home base or it is at an outstation. When at the outstation the airline is either with its own staff or outsourced.

We move our way from the curbside outside the airport into the terminal – what staff do we encounter until we reach the check-in counter?

At the counter we have the check-in agent, the bag drop agent and the ticketing agent. The ticketing agent is someone who can make magic happen in times of crisis.

To whom should you bark if you need to bark?
Quite often a supervisor if you want to get things done. Running parallel to the supervisor is the ops coordinator or dispatcher. Are supervisors dressed differently? (answer – generally yes).

And remember if you're in an outstation, the people working for the airline might not be on the airline's payroll. And they may not have a specific airline uniform.

Remember things can – and do – happen at the counter. There's a right way and a wrong way to go about things.

What happens if it gets above a supervisor? May we introduce the station or duty manager.

Vinod made sure when he was in New Delhi (DEL) that he searched for the right supervisor to help him with his baggage issue. On the other side of the globe, he found the supervisor at Heathrow (LHR) to help with Olympic quantities of baggage.

Remember everyone, the representative generally wants to get to an amicable solution as much as you do.

When you're at security, the provider depends on what airport you are at – sometimes it's even the army. Many of those shops are also governed by one company.

We take a quick look at the ramp operations and some cases where the airport's duty manager may need to get involved.

What happens at the gate? And is this the best spot to look for an upgrade? Vinod shares a crazy story getting from New York (JFK) to Edmonton (YEG) – with a strategic ballpoint pen.

We'll save the crew hierarchy for a later experience.

News Items:

  • We share our condolences for the victims of the PK8303 crash.
  • Skift article "TUI to Restart European Flights at the End of June".
  • airwaysmag article "Delta To Launch New Atlanta-Cape Town Route"

If you have a story about airport staff hierarchy, 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