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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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Jun 7, 2024

In this experience we are happy to bring you a special interview with senior leadership advisor Marco Villa.

Over three decades Marco has flown more than 2800 flights and 6125000 miles.

Geoff and Marco flew together in 2022 on internal flights in Mozambique complete with a crazy trip to Nampula (listen to experience 64 for more details).

We ask Marco about his alliances and statuses. With all of these flights, Marco has almost achieved lifetime gold status on British Airways. He holds status in three different alliances along with Emirates.

It all started for Marco in the mid-1990s when flying staff standby tickets with Lufthansa, which sponsored AIESEC conferences that Marco (and Geoff and Vinod) attended. 

We ask Marco about his business travel and his top “weird” destinations. Eritrea tops the list and Tajikistan being another exotic destination.

We ask about Marco’s pet peeves – he shares his thoughts about issues on the ground, in the air and at the hotel. He also shares an interesting “worst flight on the planet”.

We ask about Marco’s travel hacks and habits and learn what he never gets on a plane without.

What airlines or hotels are at the top of Marco’s list? Marco wishes that customer service comes back at the major airlines at some point in the future.

We ask about what airlines he feels are at the bottom of the list. It is a really populated place for both major carriers and low-cost carriers.

We ask what Marco would like to see in travel for innovation. Marco also shares his emotional attachment to his paper boarding passes.

If you're liking this episode experience, you may also enjoy Experience 61. "A Very Special Interview. Selling Airbus in China." It's available wherever you listen to your podcasts.

If you have 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