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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 13, 2022

In this experience we look at airline and airport staff security. What do they go through to keep you safe?

When you walk around an airport, you see all sorts of different coloured passes. What do they mean?

Generally, getting an airport security pass is not a small thing. There are high levels of security checks that are done before as pass is issued. There are different levels of security pass that are also issued, and biometric data is recorded when issuing these passes.

A passenger could experience similar levels of clearance if they are applying for a frequent traveller program. Geoff and Vinod share eye scanning stories.

At most checkpoints there is some sort of screening component. At some airports, there isn't the volume of traffic or infrastructure, so rudimentary security checks are done instead – including crossmatching to lists. Sometimes security clearance has to be completed upon landing and transfer. Some country's crews had to clear security a second time.

If you're flying at a home base for an airline, you may not even see the crew at the gate – they'll clear at their crew centre and then are transported to the plane.

Suppliers have to go through the same check, as do their vehicles.

In remote locations (such as the Canadian Arctic) sometimes security check ins aren't needed for certain destinations. A similar situation could apply for private planes with a fixed-base operator (FBO).

However things can go very wrong with security. Drug smuggling, money and diamond heists – some of the situations even end up as famous movie scripts.

There are some airports that have interesting approaches to security – like alligators in Orlando, Florida.

In the days of ID cards, there were many places attempting to fake the ID. Vinod shares his experience of a famous location in Bangkok...they even had a catalogue!

Depending on the country, some airports will permit crews to use the crew line, even if they're not in uniform.

Vinod shares a story of crew liquids exemptions in Dublin and having to unpack his bags at security.

Just remember, all the staff you see will have been through a check – maybe even an hour ago.

News Items:

  • article "A Boeing 707 For $2,500? Kenya To Auction 73 Abandoned Planes."
  • article "These 4 Airlines Made More From Upsells Than Ticket Sales in 2020."

If you have a story about crew security, 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