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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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Nov 14, 2020

In this experience we are extremely fortunate to have an incredible guest and extend warm greetings to Paul Papadimitriou. Paul is a global keynote speaker, futurist and TV/Radio/Stage host based in London, UK. Avgeek podcast listeners will also know Paul from the Layovers podcast.

We review our personal states and look back to the start of the year to our last flights. Do our realities mean that we need to fly at this point? Paul had very classy last flight – but is looking forward to flying again. Vinod's last flight was a short Canadian domestic flight. Geoff's last international flight was a short cross-border flight into the US. Vinod has had to postpone a flight to Tokyo for the Olympics. Paul had to cancel a number of flights including one to Barcelona. Paul shares his emotional attachment to Narita and looks at business travel these days in Japan. Everyone takes a moment to share their love for Narita. Geoff had to cancel plans for a Yukon and Alaska trek.

It's been awhile since Paul's last podcast recording – don't worry folks he's coming back soon. 2019 was the end of a golden age in travel – who knows there might be more in the future.

When the pandemic started, many in the aviation industry were in denial about what could happen – and unfortunately, it lasted far longer than just the short term. Did we make a mistake by calling the infections "waves"? Should we have looked at the pandemic like a series of forest fires? Geoff comments about the internal Canadian travel bubble in its Atlantic provinces. Lockdown – it means different things to different people, but Europe will be in some form of it until March 2021. Vinod shares the experience of his in-laws first facing the virus in Taiwan, and the challenges when they returned to Canada. Each country has a level of risk they want to take with quarantine.

We move back to aviation and ask when Paul realized he was passionate about aviation. Paul shares information on how he met his Layovers co-host Alex Hunter and started the podcast. Geoff shares the connection he had in his youth with planes on final approaches. Vinod shares his Asian long-haul experiences from when he was an infant. Paul looks back on growing up in Geneva, with visits to the US on those LOUD PLANES!

We move back to the reality of where we are today. Quite simply fix the virus, fix the economy, fix travel. And unfortunately, even if all the avgeeks flew, we wouldn't get back to 2019 levels. We're having déjà vu in Europe – it's like it's March all over. Business travellers aren't travelling and the path to recovery looks a long way off. How will city state hub airlines manage since they don’t have a domestic market? Low-cost carriers in the US and EU have a much better financial position than traditional carriers. Asia will have a different recovery. And while we are trying to recover, we'll need to make sure that we don't run short of reagents. What will happen with Tokyo's Olympics? What will happen with the need for qualifying events? How will this align with new Japanese entry requirements? What will be the order of re-opening? When will tourism travel return? What will it look like since airlines are reducing their long-range planes? What would a global framework look like? Are we going to need health visas? Is the entire world going to feel like an emerging market passport? How will recover vary between large and small countries? Are people ready to fly? Will comorbidity stop being a buzzword at some point? Will people ever learn the difference between proximal and direct causes? Repatriation – are the flights done yet?

Other industries – like MICE – do events need a system to validate tests? Will we see more contactless or biometric examples at airports? What will happen to industries that are currently suffering economically? What will we do about privacy? Will distancing be baked into premium products? Maybe we can think about self-cleaning toilets? Are we simple and robust enough with UX and UI? Paul and Vinod share their experiences with Korean mobile network alerts. Sweden and COVID – it can't be taken out of context. We can't just replicate, but we can learn – and treat it like aviation does after an incident. What's going to change for aviation on the backend?

We swing back to questions. What are our favourite airports? Vinod clarifies the beautiful final approaches at Vancouver. Geoff provides a quick update on LaGuardia construction. Congratulations Berlin, you're finally opening your new airport. Now for least favourite – Paul never gets the same experience twice at the so-called Hub Experts. Vinod and Geoff share an airport for least favourite. Vinod shares his love for full airport sensory experiences – complete with a squawking bird prank when he was a flight attendant.

We look at changes we'll have to make. Much more planning than ever before. Will (last minute) round-the-world trips be possible? Will visa waivers and ETA programs accelerate?

Paul shares his travel hacks and tips. Vinod shares the story of booking his honeymoon RTW points trip. Planning trips based on aircraft types is not going to be easy in the short term. Geoff and Vinod share aircraft bait and switch stories.

Finally, we ask what our first dream flights will be. Paul shares love for a former home country. He also hates over tourism. Vinod just wants to get on a flight for as long as possible. Geoff, dreaming of an ultra-luxury experience.

For those who want to listen to Paul's old episodes, you can find him at

If you want to share a shoutout to Paul, 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