Flying Smarter: Air Travel Explained

Air Travel Andrew

Air travel can be confusing and frustrating. At the same time, the world of commercial flying is absolutely fascinating. In each episode, this podcast will answer your questions and explore different topics to expand your horizons and make you a smarter and savvier air traveler. Whether you are looking to make the most of your next flying experience or are a naturally curious learner who wants to know more about how air travel works, Flying Smarter is the podcast for you. read less
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Episodes

61 - Flight Attendant Tales with Ally Murphy
May 6 2024
61 - Flight Attendant Tales with Ally Murphy
In this episode, former flight attendant Ally Murphy joins Andrew to share fascinating stories and lessons from the skies. But first, Andrew talks about requalifying for elite status. How does requalifying for elite status in an airline’s loyalty program work? Different airlines have different requirements, with some making it easier for existing status holders to requalify. Learn more in this episode. Ally Murphy is a former flight attendant turned voice actress and podcaster. She joins Andrew to talk about everything ranging from cautionary tales, to frightening experiences, to bad passenger habits and air travel tips. Not all interesting inflight stories are bad though, and Ally also covers one of her best memories from her time as cabin crew. Ally also shares some of her best tips for flying with children, based on her experiences as a flight attendant and as a mother. Ally Murphy is a podcast host and former flight attendant who worked in the industry for fourteen years. Ally started as a cabin crew member with Virgin Atlantic in 2002 and worked her way up to the position of Cabin Supervisor. She is now a voice actor and the host of The Red Eye, a storytelling podcast that came about when she realized that cabin crew have a lifetime of stories from their days of flying around the world. The Red Eye tells stories from the sky, covering everything from life-changing stories of love to unbelievable stories of passenger interactions. You can learn more about Ally on her website and on social media (Instagram | Facebook | X (Twitter) | LinkedIn). You can find The Red Eye on all major podcast platforms, on the podcast website, and on social media (Instagram | X (Twitter)). Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter X (Twitter): @flying_smarter LinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
59 - Designing an Airline Brand with Edmond Huot
Apr 8 2024
59 - Designing an Airline Brand with Edmond Huot
This episode starts by looking at why you shouldn’t inflate your life jacket until you are about to leave the aircraft. Andrew then talks with Edmond Huot about airline design and branding.Why are we told not to inflate our life jackets until we are about to exit the plane? There are some important reasons that could mean the difference between life or death. Learn more in this episode.  An airline once planned to charge passengers to use the onboard toilets. Find out more about the carrier that wanted to install coin-operated lavatories on their aircraft. Forward Studio Chief Creative Officer and aviation geek Edmond Huot joins Andrew to talk about what it takes to design an airline brand. They talk about the creative process, the relation between branding and the passenger experience, examples of projects that Edmond has worked on, and much more. Edmond Huot is the Chief Creative Officer and founding partner at digital marketing agency Forward Media and their airline branding and public relations agency, Forward Studio. The company’s clients have included airlines like Canada Jetlines and New Pacific Airlines, as well as other transportation companies, insurance businesses, and professional and financial services. Edmond has more than 25 years of progressive experience in the advertising and digital media space and also harbors a lifelong passion for aviation. You can learn more about Forward Studio and their airline branding and public relations agency Forward Studio on their website and social media pages: Forward Media | Forward Studio | LinkedIn (Forward Media) | LinkedIn (Forward Studio) | Instagram | X (Twitter) | VimeoEnjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter X (Twitter): @flying_smarter LinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
57 - Behind the Scenes of Airline Maintenance with Brian Bermudez Part 2
Mar 11 2024
57 - Behind the Scenes of Airline Maintenance with Brian Bermudez Part 2
This episode features the second part of Andrew’s chat with aircraft maintenance engineer and professor Brian Bermudez. Plus, he looks at whether your points and miles will expire. Do your points and miles expire? If you’re collecting airline loyalty points, you will want to know the answer to this question. With some loyalty programs, the points never expire, but others have expiration policies and ways to prevent your points from expiring. Find out more in this episode. Andrew continues his discussion with Brian Bermudez, an aircraft maintenance technician and professor of aviation maintenance. In this episode, Brian talks about how maintenance operations keep track of parts and ensure the rights ones are used, what it takes to be an “A&P” and much more. Did you know that an aircraft can fly with multiple items that don’t work? Andrew and Brian discuss the concept of deferred items, the minimum equipment list, and the redundancies and technological improvements in aircraft design and maintenance. Brian Bermudez is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and a Professor of Aviation Maintenance. Having worked for two major US airlines as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician, he now teaches aviation maintenance and runs CraftoftheAir, an aviation maintenance initiative involving multiple aspects like consulting and tutoring. Brian also hosts the CotACasT, an aviation podcast where he explores various facets of maintenance and brings his experiences and knowledge to listeners who share his enthusiasm for this field. You can learn more about Brian, his work, and his podcast at www.craftoftheair.com and on social media: Instagram | LinkedIn | X (Twitter)Looking for the post about where you can find airline snacks? Check it out on the Insights section of the Flying Smarter website by clicking here.If you’re enjoying Flying Smarter, please take a minute to leave a five-star review for the podcast if you’re listening on a platform that allows you to do so like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It helps the grow the podcast and convince guests to come on the show and we would greatly appreciate it!Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter X (Twitter): @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
56 - Behind the Scenes of Airline Maintenance with Brian Bermudez Part 1
Feb 26 2024
56 - Behind the Scenes of Airline Maintenance with Brian Bermudez Part 1
Andrew starts this episode by talking about airline flight numbers. The main segment for this episode features aircraft maintenance technician and professor Brian Bermudez. How do flight numbers get assigned? It depends, but there are some common practices and conventions. Learn more about how airlines choose their flight numbers in this episode. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Brian Bermudez joins Andrew in this episode to dive into the world of aviation maintenance. He talks about what’s going on when you see maintenance engineers boarding your flight, the most common reasons that maintenance puts your aircraft out of service, and much more. What parts of a plane can an aircraft maintenance technician work on? Do they specialize in certain parts of the plane? How often do aircraft go in for maintenance? How does maintenance work at outstations? Brian takes us behind the scenes of airline maintenance operations. Brian Bermudez is an Aircraft Maintenance Technician and a Professor of Aviation Maintenance. Having worked for two major US airlines as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician, he now teaches aviation maintenance and runs CraftoftheAir, an aviation maintenance initiative involving multiple aspects like consulting and tutoring. Brian also hosts the CotACasT, an aviation podcast where he explores various facets of maintenance and brings his experiences and knowledge to listeners who share his enthusiasm for this field. You can learn more about Brian, his work, and his podcast at www.craftoftheair.com and on social media: Instagram | LinkedIn | X (Twitter)Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more!Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter X (Twitter): @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
54 - All About Aviation Weather with Doug Morris
Jan 29 2024
54 - All About Aviation Weather with Doug Morris
This episode starts by looking at why involuntary downgrades happen and what to do if you get involuntary downgraded. Andrew then talks to airline captain Doug Morris about aviation weather and how it affects your flight.Nobody likes purchasing a premium cabin ticket and then being downgraded to a worse seat. Why might this happen and what should you do if it does? Find out more in this episode.     Doug Morris joins Andrew to talk about aviation weather, drawing from his experiences and expertise as an airline captain and as a meteorologist. He talks about the most common misconception about weather, the differences between aviation products worldwide, and much more. Extreme and unusual weather phenomenon undoubtedly make passengers nervous. Doug and Andrew talk about some different ones, ranging from thunderstorms to low visibility and winds. Plus, Andrew asks Doug what weather phenomena make pilots nervous. Doug Morris is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner captain for Air Canada. He is also a certified meteorologist and worked as a weather forecaster for four years during his early pilot days. He is a longtime teacher of aviation weather to new and aspiring pilots and is the author of four books and a blog. His latest book, titled This is Your Captain Speaking, draws from his extensive experiences and goes through the A to Z of airline travel with a bit of humor, covering things ranging from whether airliners have keys to what aircrew get up to on layovers to how to become a pilot. Longtime Air Canada flyers will also recognize him as the author of the aviation page in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine for over two decades. You can find Doug on his blog and on LinkedIn and Instagram. Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter X (Twitter): @flying_smarter LinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
52 - When to Book Your Flight: Travel Hacks & Trends with Christie Hudson
Jan 1 2024
52 - When to Book Your Flight: Travel Hacks & Trends with Christie Hudson
In this episode, Andrew starts by looking at how you can fly on the world’s largest airliner – the Airbus A380 – these days. The main segment features Expedia travel expert Christie Hudson who is here to share data-driven air hacks and travel trends.Have you ever wanted to fly on the Airbus A380? Nicknamed the superjumbo, it’s the largest passenger aircraft ever built. Find out more about where the A380 currently flies in this episode and then check out Episode 26 for more about this engineering marvel.Christie Hudson shares data-driven tips and trends from Expedia’s air travel hacks. She reveals the cheapest days to book a flight and to fly and how far in advance to book to get a good deal.  What are some trending destinations for air travel (and travel more broadly) in 2024? Christie shares the findings of Expedia’s 2024 travel trends report. From “set-jetting” to “dupe” destinations, tune in to this episode for lots of travel data and inspiration.  Christie Hudson is a travel expert, data correspondent and Head of PR for Expedia US. She is a pro at turning travel data into tips and advice to help travelers get the most out of their travels. You can find Expedia’s latest Air Travel Hacks and Travel Trends reports online (links provided to the United States versions). Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarter LinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
51 - Travel Tips: 2023 Year-in-Review Part 2
Dec 18 2023
51 - Travel Tips: 2023 Year-in-Review Part 2
This is the second part of our 2023 year-in-review. Our guests from throughout the year are sharing their travel tips and insights in a series of previously unaired clips.  What are some essential items to pack according to a flight attendant? Episode 30 guest Lara Ketterman shares her thoughts. What is the Southwest Companion Pass? Episode 36/37 guest Kendyl Grender talks about this great budget travel tool. In this episode, you’ll hear from five of our 2023 guests.  Have you ever wondered where Flying Smarter’s listeners are located? Or what the most popular episodes have been? Andrew pulls back the curtain to share some behind-the-scenes statistics and insights. In celebration of the holiday season and 50 episodes of Flying Smarter, we are holding a giveaway for a Flying Smarter luggage tag and a $100 gift card for the airline of the winner’s choice! Enter on our Instagram page throughout the month of December. Plus, check out the Insights section of the Flying Smarter for stories from Andrew’s travels, articles about air travel, and more.   Our 2023 guests featured in this episode:Dave Grossman – founder of MilesTalk and creator of Your Best Credit Cards (Episodes 27 and 28): Facebook (group and page) | Instagram | (X) (Twitter)  Lara Ketterman – flight attendant and Non-Rev Lounge podcast co-host (Episode 30): Lara: X (Twitter) and Instagram |Non-Rev Lounge: X (Twitter) and Instagram Mark Ross-Smith – loyalty expert and CEO of Loyalty Status Co (Episode 32): LinkedIn Kendyl Grender – budget travel blogger, travel hacker and content creator (Episodes 36 and 37): Instagram |www.kendyltravels.com | Southwest Companion Pass Trick: Earn it Quickly! | How I’m Earning the Southwest Companion Pass Tyler Crook – ramp agent and Non-Rev Lounge podcast co-host (Episode 47): Tyler: Instagram and X (Twitter) |Non-Rev Lounge: X (Twitter) and InstagramThank you for a fantastic year! Flying Smarter will be back with an episode on travel hacks and trends on January 1, 2024.  Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
50 - Celebrating 50 Episodes & 2023 Year-in-Review Part 1
Dec 4 2023
50 - Celebrating 50 Episodes & 2023 Year-in-Review Part 1
Flying Smarter is celebrating 50 episodes! This episode contains some special announcements as well as the first part of our 2023 year-in-review. What training do flight attendants get for dealing with panicked passengers? Former flight attendant and Episode 45 guest Carrie Bradley answers this question in this episode. Air traffic controller Andy Watson shares a story about Air Force Two. In this episode, you will find unaired clips from some of our amazing 2023 guests. In celebration of Episode 50 of the podcast and the holiday season, we are holding a giveaway for a Flying Smarter luggage tag and a $100 gift card for the airline of the winner’s choice! Enter on our Instagram page throughout the month of December. Plus, check out the Insights section of the Flying Smarter for stories from Andrew’s travels, articles about air travel, and more.  Thank you to all our listeners and friends for your ongoing support. Flying Smarter has grown tremendously over the past 50 episodes and it’s all thanks to our wonderful listeners.  Our 2023 guests featured in this episode:Andy Watson – air traffic controller and author of The Pilot’s Guide to Air Traffic Control (Episode 39): www.atcandy.com  Joey Gerardi – aviation writer, photographer, video producer (Episode 42): AirlineGeeks | X (Twitter) | Instagram | YouTubeCarrie Bradley – family travel expert, founder/editor of Flying with a Baby, former flight attendant (Episode 45): www.flyingwithababy.com | Facebook | Instagram | X (Twitter). Ganesh Sitaraman – law professor and author of Why Flying is Miserable and How to Fix It (Episode 49): www.ganeshsitaraman.com | X (Twitter) The next episode of Flying Smarter will be the second part of our 2023 year-in-review. It will feature travel tips from the rest of our guests from this year, so stay tuned! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
49 - Why Flying is Miserable with Ganesh Sitaraman
Nov 20 2023
49 - Why Flying is Miserable with Ganesh Sitaraman
Andrew starts this episode by talking about why we board and deplane from the left side of the aircraft. Afterwards, the main segment of this episode features law professor Ganesh Sitaraman, who joins Andrew to talk about why flying is miserable and what we can do about it from a regulatory perspective.  In the last episode, we talked a lot about boarding. One question that came up is why we always board and disembark on the left side. Learn more in this episode. Did you know that there are some airlines that don’t fly on Christmas Day? The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for the air travel industry, but some airlines don’t fly on December 25th itself. In the main segment of this episode, law professor Ganesh Sitaraman shares his insights about airline regulation and deregulation in the United States. From delays and cancellations to poor service, there’s no shortage of reasons why flying isn’t always fun. Ganesh brings a regulatory perspective to the podcast, looking at the impacts of deregulation on the travel experience today, what potential changes in the regulatory regime could look like, and much more. Ganesh Sitaraman is a law professor at Vanderbilt University and the director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator for Political Economy and Regulation. He teaches and writes about constitutional law, the regulatory state, economic policy, democracy, and foreign affairs and is the author of numerous books. In addition, he is a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. His latest book, Why Flying is Miserable and How to Fix It, offers insight into the state of air travel in the United States from a regulatory perspective. You can learn more about Ganesh and his work and books on his website and find him on X (Twitter) .The next episode of Flying Smarter is Episode 50 and we have some things announcements planned, including a giveaway. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and follow Flying Smarter on social media so that you don’t miss anything! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
48 - Boarding and Deplaning: How We Get On and Off the Plane
Nov 6 2023
48 - Boarding and Deplaning: How We Get On and Off the Plane
In this episode, Andrew starts off by talking about whether you can sleep overnight in an airport terminal. Then he looks at the different ways we board and deplane our flights. Can you sleep overnight in an airport terminal? The answer depends on where you are and there are a lot of factors at play. Some airports have facilities to help travelers nap, while others close overnight. Learn more in this episode.  Some airlines allow you to bring skiing and snowboarding equipment on the plane for free, above your regular checked baggage allowance. As winter approaches, Andrew takes a look at airlines that are particularly friendly towards winter sports. What is the most efficient way of boarding an aircraft? Airlines have a lot of different options. This main segment delves into the different options for boarding, comparing their efficiency and talking about why they are or aren’t used. Plus, Andrew looks at the physical methods that we use for getting on and off aircraft. Jetways are the most common, but there are some other ones out there as well.  Other material mentioned in this episode:Sleeping in Airports – A website with tips, advice and guides for sleeping in airports around the world. Optimal Boarding Method for Airline Passengers – Jason Steffen’s 2008 study on boarding methods.Comparative Study of Aircraft Boarding Strategies Using Cellular Discrete Event Simulation – Shafagh Jafer and Wei Mi’s 2021 boarding methods study.The Better Boarding Method Airlines Won’t Use – CGP Grey’s video on boarding methods. Episode 50 of Flying Smarter is coming up soon and we have some exciting announcements planned. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and follow Flying Smarter on social media so that you don’t miss anything! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
47 - On the Airport Ramp with Tyler Crook
Oct 23 2023
47 - On the Airport Ramp with Tyler Crook
This episode starts by looking at how to ensure that you are within your baggage allowances so that you avoid surprise fees at the airport. Andrew then talks to ramp agent Tyler Crook to get a look at what goes on outside your plane on the airport ramp.Have you ever been surprised by extra bags fees at the airport? Or have you had a carry on that is allowed on one airline but doesn’t fit in the bag sizer for another airline? Learn about baggage allowances and how to find them in this episode. Tyler Crook talks about life on the airport ramp in this episode of Flying Smarter. He chats with Andrew about different parts of the job, interesting cargo that he has handled, how ramp agents ensure that aircraft don’t hit each other, and much more. There’s always a small risk of your checked bag getting lost or damaged. However, there are some simple things that you can do to help avoid damage to your bag and to help the airline reunite you with your bag if it gets lost. In this episode, Tyler shares insider tips and advice about your baggage. Tyler Crook has worked as a ramp agent for a major airline in the United States for over a decade and a half. He is one of the co-hosts of Non-Rev Lounge, a travel and aviation podcast. In addition to being a ramp worker, he is an avid traveler and aviation photographer. You can find Tyler on Instagram and X (Twitter). Non-Rev Lounge is also on Instagram and X (Twitter) and you can find the show wherever you listen to podcasts.Episode 50 of Flying Smarter is coming up soon and we have some fun surprises planned. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and follow Flying Smarter on social media so that you don’t miss anything! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarter LinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
45 - Flying with a Baby with Carrie Bradley
Sep 25 2023
45 - Flying with a Baby with Carrie Bradley
Andrew starts this episode by talking about airline seat map websites. The main segment for this episode features family travel expert and former flight attendant Carrie Bradley. Where can you find airline seat maps? The ones provided by the airlines often don’t have much information. Learn about third-party websites that provide valuable details about the plane that you’re flying on.Some airports allow visitors to access their post-security areas without a boarding pass? Find about airports that allow airside access to non-passengers, allowing them to spend more time with family and friends, enjoy airport shops and restaurants or surprise an arriving passenger.Carrie Bradley joins Andrew as this episode’s guest. She is the owner and editor of Flying With a Baby, a website dedicated to helping parents fly with young children. Carrie talks about everything from booking considerations to packing and special baggage allowances to how to handle crying babies (both as a parent and fellow passenger).   Carrie Bradley is a family travel expert and former flight attendant who runs the family travel site Flying With a Baby. The website covers all aspects of family travel, including family holiday destination guides, hotel and airline reviews and comparisons, as well as attractions and trip plans. There are also tons of resources and tips for family vacations, flying and travel in general. She previously worked as a flight attendant and her and her work with family travel has been featured in media outlets like USA Today and the BBC. You can find Carrie and Flying with a Baby at www.flyingwithababy.com as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or X. Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more!Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com
44 - The Lasting Impacts of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks
Sep 11 2023
44 - The Lasting Impacts of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks
In this episode, Andrew starts off by talking about why airplane cabins are so dry and what you can do about it. Then he looks at the lasting impacts of the 9/11 attacks on air travel today. Why do aircraft cabins feel so dry? If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not wrong. Find out why this is the case and what you can do about it in this episode. This episode has been released on September 11 and it is fitting to talk about the 9/11 attacks and its impacts on aviation. Andrew starts off by recapping the event and its immediate aftermath, before looking at longer term effects on air travel.   There once was a time where family and friends could accompany passengers to the gate and children could visit the cockpit in flight. This episode looks at how the September 11 attacks changed aviation forever. We also explore some of the subsequent developments in airport security that weren’t directly the result of the attack but were implemented in a post-9/11 context. Other materials mentioned in this episode:Zero Hour: A History of 9/11 – This is a narrative nonfiction limited podcast series that looks back on the people and events that led to the September 11 terror attacks and their consequences. (Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts) 9/11 Memorial & Museum – Located at the World Trade Center site in New York City, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum remembers and honors the 2,983 people killed in the horrific attacks of September 11 and those who risked their lives to save others. Come from Away – This heartwarming musical tells the story of the 7,000 passengers who ended up stranded in a small town of Newfoundland, Canada as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Talking About Trusted Traveler Programs – Episode 41 of Flying Smarter covers TSA PreCheck, including what it is, what the benefits are and how you can get it. Learn more about how to skip the line at airport security and get expedited screening.Enjoying the podcast? Follow us on social media for additional content, updates, sneak peeks, and more! Connect with Flying Smarter: Facebook: Flying Smarter Podcast Instagram: @flyingsmarter Twitter: @flying_smarterLinkedIn: Flying SmarterWebsite: www.flyingsmarter.com