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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.

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Mar 6, 2023

In this experience we look back at our travel experiences over the December 2022 holiday season.

We got where we were meant to go, and fortunately did not incur any of the long delays that many other travellers encountered.

December 2022 saw serious weather systems in North America. That was combined with large volumes; technology, crewing, and baggage issues. People thought that the labour issues from the summer of 2022 had resolved themselves, but they were still ongoing.

First, Vinod planned a trip to San Diego from Vancouver. He decided to fly to Los Angeles and rent a car, which turned out to be an important factor. The Vancouver-Los Angeles route is a competitive and frequent route.

In the week before Vinod's flight there was a major winter storm in Vancouver. Vancouver does not get the same amount of snow as other Canadian airports. On the day before his flight there was another massive snowstorm. Would Vinod be able to make the flight to Los Angeles? He checked the schedules of his plane and the weather of the city where it was going to be before his flight.

All flights at YVR cancelled. Airport closed. All arrivals were halted.

But what about flights departing? Vinod's flight was still operating. The US departure terminal at Vancouver was mayhem. Vinod learned that the passport scanning terminal could have problems with infant tickets.

Flight crew also get stuck when the weather goes sideways, so there was a slight delay.

It might have led to de-icing employees getting to the airport, since the capacity to de-ice was less than 50 percent on this wintery day in Vancouver. It took Vinod 3 hours to have his plane de-iced.

Vinod looked out on the tarmac, various trans-Pacific flights were stuck on the tarmac, unable to deplane their passengers or get to a gate.

Geoff shared a story of crews getting stuck in Ft. McMurray, Alberta from the same storm.

Vinod has a love hate relationship with LAX. Right now it is on the hate dial.

Vinod was very lucky to make it out that day on a critical feeder route.

If you're liking this episode experience, you may also enjoy Experience 027. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Holiday Travel Horror Stories." It's available wherever you listen to your podcasts. 

Meanwhile, Geoff was scheduled to fly from Toronto on December 24. He had been watching the storm system that affected Vinod, along with other record cold systems moving across North America. Then there was a weather warning for freezing rain and then a blizzard warning.

However the morning of December 24, the flight was showing on time. The temperatures had dropped with strong winds. The airport was holiday busy, the lounge was full but seating was still available. The flight was slightly delayed due a baggage issue, but arrival was not too delayed.

Geoff's return flight involved a review of food at Calgary security - what happens with solid honey?

Calgary had thick heavy fog, and the inbound flight was delayed. The first officer was delayed on arriving due to the fog.

The turbulence was very strong, to the point where the crew had to take their seats. Otherwise the return was uneventful, but since the flight was late priority was given to those connecting.

Vinod's flight back to Vancouver was much more stressful than it normally was. It started well, with burgers and plane spotting, but went downhill starting with the car rental shuttle bus.

Vinod was supposed to meet a work colleague who was connecting - but logistics prevented it from happening.

Vinod needed to take apart his child's stroller and put all three parts through the x-ray machine.

The stress of the day fuelled into Vinod's child for the return flight, which arrived at Vancouver at the furthest gate from Canadian Customs.

Vinod got a good laugh as some American pilots were shamed to get back in the line to exit the customs hall.

It is important to book the right routing during periods of travel uncertainty. If Vinod had booked the San Diego flight, there is a much stronger chance it would have been cancelled. Also in late December 2022 would have had to probably land at LAX anyway due to the aviation fuel leak limiting flight distance at San Diego.

Geoff and Vinod share their love for San Diego airport.

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If you have a story about flights to Los Angeles, holiday flights, upcoming trips, 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