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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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Feb 25, 2021

In this experience we look at the complex world of air cargo. Though there are not a lot of passenger flights happening so far in 2021, the need for air cargo continues.

Large planes are still landing at airports around the world as airlines need the high revenues from cargo. If airlines still had combi freighters, now would be a good time to use them. Vinod shares experiences of flying with combi freighters in northern Canada.

We explain what's going on underneath the plane – Geoff shares how the plane baggage holds are laid out. He also shares stories of what sometimes happens to skis when the load is really large. The space is not forgiving and in narrow body planes the bags are often hand loaded like a three-dimensional game of Tetris. Wide body planes utilize specialized containers. Vinod shares a story of how his bags were checked through, but he wasn't, and how ground teams in Amsterdam had to go deep into the plane to find them. Vinod shares the experience he had with sports teams – particularly wheelchair basketball and the challenges they caused with cargo loading.

We discuss other unique cargo items – like coffins, human ashes, or firearms. The pilot needs to know what's in the aircraft – especially if it is hazardous. IATA has classified nine different categories for Dangerous Goods. Vinod shares his experience of tourists who were camping and who couldn't fly back with their stoves. Lithium-ion batteries are a huge risk when packed as cargo. Vinod shares his experience seeing a very famous Formula 1 car as cargo in Barbados.

In addition, there are numerous living things that are shipped as cargo. Crickets, chicks (Geoff shares a story of chicks escaping the cargo hold in Calgary), and pets.

Some pets fly really well, others unfortunately not. Vinod shares his logistics experience of shipping rescue dogs to Canada from Taiwan. Meanwhile, Vinod shares a story of dealing with horses as cargo.

We look at the current situation for vaccine shipping – and the unique challenges of cold temperatures and physics of dry ice. Remember that the majority of cargo planes are older, and some may need to be retrofitted with current technology. Hats off to all in the industry at this critical time.

News Items:

  • article "Anchorage International Cargo Haul Sets Record."
  • article "Air Cargo Saw Record Decline in Demand in 2020."

If you have a story about transporting air cargo, 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