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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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Oct 11, 2021

In this experience we look at the world of teams and flights.

As we learned in Experience 051, Vinod flew back to Vancouver with the Canadian Olympic Team. What a great atmosphere it was for him to enjoy. This is not the first time that he has flown with Olympic athletes or teams for that matter.

On flights with teams, it's not just athletes. There are usually coaching and support staff also on the flight. As well, normally there are also supporting family or partners on board. National flag carriers will often sponsor national teams.

When the athletes arrive at the airport, they come with the luggage related to their sport and the check-in process is the same as any other passenger. The teams are often processed with the group check-in to avoid any issues or problems with the non-team flying public. The teams usually sit together.

On the ramp, the baggage handlers will see a large quantity of similar bags carrying similar items. On wide-body flights, often the team baggage is reserved into a few containers.

There are examples of teams being boisterous and loud, but many times this happens on the return flight.

Vinod remembers having to deal with teenagers on flights, the insane boarding process and not getting much help from chaperones.

Geoff wonders if US college football teams have the band equipment and the team equipment on the same flight.

Helpful tip – groups are usually seated at the back of the plane.

We also look at what happens when teams charter flights. Some airlines have a speciality product specifically for sports charters. What does the check-in process look like? Usually teams will fly right after the game. On these team flights there is usually very good catering, and often with not too much alcohol. Geoff remembers back to when the NHL pro teams would fly commercially scheduled flights.

What happens with teams flying on commercial flights – usually other passengers don't know. Vinod shares his experience working a flight with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League and Geoff shares his experience with Calgary Stampeders.

We return to the ground for a moment with Vinod sharing a family experience from the Eurostar and a vey rowdy English rugby team.

For the most part though, professional teams are professional.

Some teams board at remote stands or with a fixed-base operator (FBO) at private terminals for technical or logistical reasons. These operations are very fast. Geoff shares a story how ramp staff always loved team planes that landed at the private terminals for the food leftovers.

Sometimes bus or coach service is used for teams on shorter trips.

In many cases it's not the team that are problematic, it's the fans of the teams. From large amount of alcohol orders or trying to bring their own alcohol on board, to starting brawls with other team's supporters – fans can be challenging.

News Items:

  • article "Football Teams And Cable Cars: What Does Emirates Sponsor?"
  • New York Post "Aussie athletes allegedly got drunk, caused chaos on wild flight home from Olympics."


If you have a story about team travel, team charter, or other experiences that you would like to share, please email us at stories(at) or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you wish to support the show financially, we are on Patreon. Show notes are available online at