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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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Aug 29, 2023

In this experience Vinod and Geoff are both in Toronto, recording in person and celebrate the milestone of 75 episodes.

We proceed to do an analysis of travels in July 2023.

Geoff had a trans-Atlantic adventure, with flights to Germany, Austria, and Turkey.

Geoff's trip was from Toronto to Frankfurt with a premium economy ticket that had been booked early in the year but wanted to try for an upgrade. ExpertFlyer helped to figure out the load factor and Geoff tried the Air Canada bid upgrade system. Forty-eight hours in advance the upgrade was accepted. Remember that Air Canada does not have pajamas in business class as part of the amenity kit. Air Canada business class is a solid product but not top of world class. Geoff got a pointer from another passenger on how to get sleep in the airline.

When Geoff arrived into Frankfurt he checked if there was shower service in the Air Canada lounge. He learned departing passengers only and Lufthansa will not accept Air Canada passengers in their arrival lounge. Fortunately Frankfurt Airport offers a paid shower directly across from that lounge. Geoff took a train into Frankfurt Main Station and onwards from there, with a scheduled return back to Frankfurt Airport the next day.

Geoff proceeded on from Frankfurt to Vienna. A very simple self bag check, and Schengen zone flight. A warning for those using the A wing of Terminal 1 in Frankfurt. There are no places for you to fill a water bottle with cool water and water bottles are sold for four euros or more. The gate Geoff was at did not require a pushback. Overnight in Vienna and a train back to the airport the next day.

A straightforward flight on to Düsseldorf. But when Geoff arrived, did they forget all the bags on the tarmac without delivering them to the belt? An overnight in Düsseldorf and onward to Cologne the next morning.

Geoff flew with Turkish from Cologne to Istanbul and his first impressions of the massive airport in Istanbul was the very long taxiing time to the terminal. He connected for a domestic flight onward to Bodrum. He returned to Istanbul a week later taking a 777 for a one-hour flight - which managed to have a hot breakfast service.

Geoff stayed up all night for a planned Istanbul to Vienna to Toronto trip. There had been issues through the entire trip since it had been booked using points. It’s a long walk through the middle of Istanbul Airport without moving sidewalks until you get to the assorted terminal wings.

Geoff was told that his flight was late, and he was going to miss the connection, and was advised to stay another day. But the inbound flight connection in Vienna was late. Would he make it?

After waiting an hour for takeoff clearance and arriving at a remote stand with a bus, and a sprint though Vienna Airport, the answer was no. Did Air Canada get passenger information from Turkish? Who knows. Could the Star Alliance connection work better? Absolutely.

Geoff rants about the newer terminal at Vienna, the need to use stairs often at the airport and the narrow, dark atmosphere. But who was Geoff supposed to contact. Since it was booked with points, he was told to contact Air Canada.

After multiple hours waiting, Geoff spoke to Mina at Air Canada, his trip saviour. He tried with Turkish to get a new routing, no chance. He was NOT going to fly back to Istanbul to start over. Air Canada covered the re-routing of his itinerary – now via Barcelona.

After an unplanned short overnight in Vienna, and unanticipated excitement with a missing NEXUS card, Geoff flew via Barcelona. What a difference to Vienna with wide walkways and lots of light. A brief layover in Barcelona and a pleasant return flight to Toronto.

If you're liking this episode experience, you may also enjoy Experience 9. "Our first deep dive into two different flying experiences." It's available wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Vinod had a family trip to Toronto with a redeye flight from Vancouver which was not a pleasant experience. The inbound Air Canada flight was delayed, the passengers sat in the plane waiting for ground crews, the temperature control was uncomfortably warm at times (which is apparently an issue with the MAX), and the crew was uninterested.

Vinod shares his rental car experience, and upgrades that can happen for those companies that share the same vehicle pool.

Vinod was planning for his first ever flight with a transcontinental flight on Porter. How was his seat planning going? Apparently quite well.

If you have a story about 2023 trips that you’ve already completed or are taking, 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