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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 29, 2020

In this experience (congratulations to us on reaching 40!) we know that during the holiday season, people will be watching movies. We decided to take a look at a number of aviation movies.

How can we make a connection to aviation films and our fortieth experience? The classic comedy Airplane! turned forty in 2020 – so that's where we made the link. "Surely you can't be serious. I am serious and don't call me Shirley." There were so many serious airplane crash and hijacking incidents that happened through the 1970s and movies that played up the terror. Airplane! decided to take it all on with a full comedic tour de force. It gave Leslie Nielsen a chance to pivot into comedy – and Police Squad and Naked Gun fans are eternally gracious.

We're not analyzing the technicalities of the films that much, there are other people out there reviewing the pure technical aspects of movies and their accuracy.

Cast Away – We look at this film from Tom Hanks, the crash sequence, and even how much one of the volleyballs ended selling for. Vinod shares a memory of listening in to a FedEx 777 flight conversation as he flew over Memphis.

Die Hard 2 – We edited the signature line a bit to keep this podcast as family friendly as possible. We discuss the volatility of jet fuel and also the reality of fighting on a moving wing - this film takes creative license with both of these. Additionally, the film pays homage to two iconic aircraft – the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar and Boeing 747. We look back nostalgically to when planes had phones in the galley or in the seat backs.

The Terminal - This movie based on a true story gives us a chance to talk about the old Montreal Mirabel airport, but also the incredible work that was done to make the terminal seem as real as possible.

Up in the Air – This one's for the road warriors out there. There is a scene in the film that impacted the way that Vinod pulls his carry-on luggage to this day.

Sully – Another film with Tom Hanks (there seems to be a theme here?) which shows the incredible action taken during the 2009 Miracle on the Hudson caused by striking a flock of birds. We discuss how this film gets the flight deck details right – but many films (and press in general) don't get pictures to match the reality. The control takeover scene is very accurate – but safety harnesses (in this film and many others) are not that accurate. Pilots will not put them on until they absolutely have to.

7500 – The squawk code for a hijacking, this is a well written film that is based on the flight deck point of view. The film was a three-country co-production.

Executive Decision – A crash, bang, boom 1990s movie, with Hollywood license taken with secret passages, cargo holds and B1 Bombers and a short field landing sequence.

Catch Me If You Can – A movie that included Pan Am and filmed partly at the TWA terminal at JFK. Geoff was there in January 2020 – one day maybe we'll record an experience there.

Flight – Keeping the blue side up with Denzel Washington. Saving his passengers on a crash landing, but then having to deal with his substance abuse challenges.

Passenger 57 – A 1990s movie with lots of explosions and shootouts. There is an implausible scene of getting into the airplane through the landing gear. Vinod shares his experience of leaving Cuba where the police would escort the plane to prevent stowaways running to escape in the landing gear.

Air Force One - Geoff has seen the real thing on the tarmac, and no, the vehicles don't travel with it.

Alive – The harrowing story of the crash of a Uruguayan Rugby team flight in 1972 and subsequent battle for survival. Mountain flights for small planes in that era were often dangerous.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – A crazy journey across America with Steve Martin and John Candy. We look back at a couple of Vinod's crazy experiences that we've discussed previously.

Airport – A film series of disaster movies in the 1970s, with George Kennedy playing in all four films of the series.

Final Destination – It is thanks to this plane that Vinod checks to see if plane wings are greasy.

Con Air – A late 1990s prisoner transport movie starring Nicolas Cage, and a Fairchild C-123 which causes us to ask why are they landing on The Strip in Las Vegas?

Non-Stop – Liam Neeson puts in a good performance, but the movie misses on a number of technical issues.

Flight of the Phoenix – We look briefly at the 2004 remake of the film.

Air America – We look at the bush flying that is highlighted in this movie, and also wonder when planes break apart in Hollywood films, why aren't there more cables visible?

Twilight Zone – We discuss the original "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" from 1963, the 1983 movie starring John Lithgow, and The Simpson's 1993 animated parody.

Finally, we recommend the television series Mayday (also known as Air Crash Investigation; Air Emergency; or Air Disasters in various countries) for those who are interested in air crashes, near-crashes, hijackings, bombings, and other disasters.

The integrity of the technical aspects varies depending on the movie - some aim for facts, while others have information that can be debunked.

We share the Simple Flying story from October that an ex British Airlines 747 will be saved as a film set just outside of London.

News Items:

  • article (translated from German) "Traveler with 350,000 euros in underpants and shoes".
  • article "€280,000 painting found in bin after owner leaves it at airport.".
  • article "easyJet launches free at-home trolley service".
  • article "Emirates unveils new Christmas menu"

If you have a story about your favourite aviation films, 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