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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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Experience 036. Show Notes. Epidemic Unplugged. What's happening and what does the future hold? The Seat 1A Podcast.

Oct 4, 2020

Recorded 18 September 2020

Written by: Geoff Dahl & Vinod Viswalingam

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


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In this special edition we look at the current status of aviation and travel. Our travel habits that we grew so accustomed to have either entered a state of hibernation or a world of surrealness.

We look to when we last flew in 2020 and Vinod shares nostalgia of seeing 747s and L-1011s out the airport window and boarding from the tarmac.

Pandemic restrictions have seen new flight routings that did not exist before, and regrettably we have seen airlines struggle and go under but not at this scope. Vinod shares a story of how airline bankruptcy affected job prospects earlier just after university.

To everyone in the industry, we wish you nothing but the best through all of this.

The effects are felt across all sorts of industries – including rental cars.

Airlines will take a number of years to return – Vinod shares the story when Singapore left Vancouver. Geoff shares his 2019 experiences of airport expansions that may not be filled for years – this has been repeated through history. Vinod comments on recent cancelled capital projects at Vancouver – what's next?

If and when the airlines return, their fleets will look different as many planes are being retired. And with those retiring planes, many staff have more than just a job loss – it's a lifestyle change.

We at Seat 1A will evolve as well given the current situation and the unknown future. What new innovations are going to come from this current situation? What will happen as travellers discover their own countries again? If you are travelling enjoy the shorter lines, and cleaner aircraft while the industry comes back.

This epidemic will lead to changes in travel policies including with credit cards and insurance. How can you best play the game during periods of uncertainty? We're going to try to stay on top of the changes for you.

Other means of travel have seen a renaissance – including night trains in Europe and subscription travel. Meanwhile, we'll see how the travel guidebook evolves after all of this.

Will travellers want a more experiential travel experience in the future? Do destinations get a chance to breathe and reset?

We're looking forward to interesting content in the future.

If you have a story about your travel experiences during the pandemic, your thoughts about where you think travel is going to evolve, 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







  • Show introduction. [00:00:14]
  • This is a special edition. [00:00:38]
  • Vinod's travel soul has died and crawled into hibernation. [00:01:27]
  • "The last time I flew was…" [00:02:12]
  • Vinod's last flight was February 24, 2020. [00:02:56]
  • Vinod was supposed to be Japan for two months in summer 2020. [00:03:08]
  • Geoff flew in August 2020 and had a surreal experience at Toronto. [00:03:21]
  • No need for a NEXUS pass these days. [00:03:58]
  • Anyone who got on a plane prior to March 2020 remembers the golden age of aviation. [00:05:06]
  • Vinod's childhood memories of tarmac boarding a 747. [00:05:43]
  • A lot of waiting to figure out if flights are going to depart as intended. [00:07:00]
  • Changes in flight routings due to politics or COVID - Tahiti from Vancouver for example. [00:08:34]
  • We've seen airlines go under before, but never at this scope. [00:09:01]
  • Vinod felt the side effects of airline bankruptcy in 2003. [00:09:25]
  • Current situation is general anesthetic...with a chainsaw. [00:10:53]
  • Flight staff, we wish you nothing but the best through this. [00:11:47]
  • Vinod has dozens of former colleagues in various job situations due to COVID. [00:12:24]
  • It's not just airlines being affected. [00:13:14]
  • The realities Vinod has seen with the rental car market. [00:13:53]
  • There aren't as many planes to see as before, but there are interesting routings. [00:15:16]
  • Switchover from passenger flights to cargo flights. [00:16:42]
  • When Singapore Airlines left Vancouver in 2008. [00:17:12]
  • Airport expansions may sit unused for years. [00:18:37]
  • There is a long history of airports building beyond their capacity. [00:19:42]
  • Capital building project at Vancouver. What's going to happen? [00:21:08]
  • Demise of fleets of aircraft. [00:23:28]
  • It's more than a job loss, it's a lifestyle. [00:25:32]
  • Taking off from the crowd, Seat 1A will evolve. [00:26:24]
  • What innovations are going to come from the pandemic? [00:26:57]
  • Travel these days - people are rediscovering their backyards. [00:27:58]
  • Travel in the US to mountain national parks. [00:28:28]
  • Enjoy the shorter lines, cleaner aircraft while the tourism industry comes back. [00:29:15]
  • Pointing fingers at travel companies becomes very difficult since we're all in the same situation. [00:30:18]
  • Credit card companies and what's happening with cancelled flights. [00:32:27]
  • Make sure you know what you're booking, how your booking it, and keep copies of everything you've booked. [00:32:58]
  • Playing cancellation chicken with travel companies. [00:33:30]
  • The rules didn't change how the game gets played due to COVID. [00:35:28]
  • Travel insurance did not guarantee monetary refunds. [00:36:09]
  • There is so much uncertainty right now. [00:36:37]
  • We're trying to stay on top of the changes for you. [00:37:23]
  • Means of travel have changed. [00:37:47]
  • Resurgence of night trains. [00:38:02]
  • Subscription travel steady presence. [00:39:52]
  • Print guidebooks when no one is travelling. [00:40:17]
  • Will travellers want to have a more experiential travel experience in the future? [00:42:38]
  • Do world destinations get a chance to breathe and reset? [00:44:07]
  • We're going to come up with some interesting content. [00:46:45]
  • Show Wrap-up. [00:48:01]