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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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May 3, 2021

In this experience we look at flying with children and the unique situations that this causes for parents and crew.

Over the last 4 decades, that world of air travel has changed for children. No longer can a child look forward to the excitement of going up to the flight deck and seeing all the lights, indicators, and controls. At the same time, we usually don't see children dressing up to go on a flight anymore. Now it's like "sit down, shut up, strap in" and that's the end of it.

Full disclaimer – this experience is not about us providing parenting advice.

Vinod has seen much as inflight crew and is of the belief that children should travel as soon as possible. Some parents are not of the same view.

We start by looking at pregnant flyers. Why is there a cut-off when they cannot fly? What sort of checks happen to ensure that they are safe to fly?

Next, we break down the type of parent passengers into three types:

  • Those that have their *bleep* together.
  • The disorganized traveller.
  • The know-it-alls.

When you book your seat, pick it with the child in mind. Remember that children under two can fly for free, but they don't get a seat for free. An infant on a lap of a parent (particularly without a chance to trade off) can be very stressful. Don't be scared to ask the crew if there's an extra seat – but if the flight is full your chances will be slim. Often premium economy seating is used to entice other passengers to give up their seats.

What is the location of the seat you're booking? We discuss the logistics and practicalities of bulkheads and bassinets. As a parent, a bassinet can be a great place to hold your stuff. As a non-parent who's trying to get legroom in a bulkhead seat, you just might wind up with a baby beside you. Additionally, remember that the bulkhead is at the back of the lavatory, so you may end up with extra people looking at your baby. Plus there won't be a lot of extra room if you use a bassinet. But, if there's turbulence, you need to take the baby out of the bassinet.

If you have the means, do you book a business or first-class cabin to travel with your child? You have to respect the noise level in the premium cabin, and it is possible that, "you'll get more support and empathy in economy class next time."

Vinod shares his stroller stories. If you have to check in the stroller, ask for the thick plastic bag to put it into if you don't have a carrying case. If you take your stroller to boarding, make sure you know how to fold it up. If you're travelling as two adults with children, a tag-team approach often works the best when boarding the flight. One of the reasons is that aisles are getting narrower, so the less you have to carry the easier it is to get to your seat. When you get to your row, get in! Then figure things out.

We understand that children will melt down at any point and it's unpredictable. Some parents will lighten the atmosphere with earplugs or small snacks for their neighbouring passengers.

We interject a story with Spirit Airlines who kicked a family off a flight since their child wasn't wearing a mask. There will continue to be challenges with parents trying to keep their children masked during the pandemic.

Vinod shares passenger requests of the crew – one of the biggest was warming up milk...and flight crews' trick to make it work. Another is heating up food – galley ovens are going to melt any plastic container your child's food is in. Remember that a lap seat does not entitle you to a complimentary meal. When flights have buy on board, there may not be something for your child, and often food runs out. Make sure you let the crew know to save a certain food for your child, or if your child is not on the same schedule as the meal service.

Pro tip – if there's a food your child enjoys, pre-package it with you. Your crew can help you, but you need to let them know that you need to be helped.

Note that different countries have different rules for seat belts and babies. Crews are aware, that some children do not want to be belted in for the flight – remember that they just need to see the child belted in.

Sometimes children run around when the plane is taxiing. That's going to cause a full stop until the child is back in their seat.

Some parents bring car seats on board with them. The car seat has to be in the window seat. Practice belting the seat before bringing it on board.

During flight children crawl around, make sure you have a blanket for them. And diaper changing at the seat...sometimes necessity causes it to happen, but crew tend to frown on it. If you need to step away from your child, sometimes a crew member can briefly sit with your child. During quieter moments of the flight, you can often bring your child to the back galley.

Vinod shares his gross experiences of diapers being passed to him during garbage collection. There are specific policies airlines have to follow for bodily waste. Sometimes diapers end up in the lavatory waste and sometimes – they (yuck) end up in seat pockets.

Vinod shares a trick using two cups that was used with children with hurting ears on descent.

Be a good passenger and let the crew know if your child vomited – there's nothing quite like finding a full unattended air sickness bag.

Keeping your kid occupied during flight, some airlines offer in-flight children's games. Many parents just plug their child into electronic devices or rely on the inflight entertainment. Sometimes the inflight entertainment goes down and Vinod shares memories of "you should not be relying on the IFE as your sole source of entertaining your child for this five-hour flight." Sometimes children crayon all over the airplane.

On disembarking have everything ready to disembark, or just wait until the end – then you'll get the crew helping you out. Remember that if you're landing on a remote stand, you might get your stroller until you're inside the terminal after riding the bus.

Vinod shares his hacks.

News Items:

  • article "Hong Kong Air Cargo bans VIVO smartphones after airport fire."
  • article "Briggs & Riley Is Holding a Luggage Drive for Kids in Foster Care."
  • article "New Wheelchair Prototype Seat Promises Accessibility for In-Flight Travel"

If you have a story about children (and their parents) on a flight, 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