We arrived at the domestic terminal before the doors opened, thus waiting outside in the cool clear morning. The winds were calm, meaning there was little chance that our flight would be postponed – flights are often delayed if there’s any indication of inclement weather. Past accidents(crashes) prompted officials to adhere to strict guidelines on when planes fly into and out of Lukla. Since the weather was clear and calm, we were good to go!
Inside, the check in counters were unlike anything what most travelers are accustomed to in this modern age of travel. The counters look like they came from a county fair. They’re made of wood with an upright at each end supporting a horizontal sign. Next to each counter are large mechanical scales that I assume are used to weigh luggage, though I didn’t see any of our luggage being weighed nor any others’.
At this point we were given our boarding passes.
We waited around for a while until it was time to board. At that point, we proceed through security, which basically consisted of an airport official quickly having us open our carry on bags and inspect the contents.
Afterwards, we were directed to board an old, defunct van, but it sufficed to carry us the short distance to the twin otter prop plane.
I’m not sure if other domestic carriers assign seats, but with AGNI air, there’s no assigned seating for the two rows of seats.
When everyone was seated, the flight attendant(yes, there’s an FA aboard) brought around a tray containing a pile of candy and cotton. I wasn’t interested in the candy and politely declined. I couldn’t quite make out what the pile of cotton was for until the plane started up – it was to plug your ears! It wasn’t obvious at the time since it was simply a pile of cotton vice small cotton balls. Luckily, I had a pair of earplugs inside my backpack, which I quickly searched for. SIDE NOTE: ear plugs are probably one of the most useful travel accessories.
After about 45 minutes or so, we were approaching Lukla.
Overall the flight going into Lukla was smooth, no violent turbulence. Our guide even commented that it was the smoothest flight he’s been on.
Here’s a video from behind the cockpit on take off from Lukla.
The outbound flight on the other hand, was the bumpiest plane ride EVER. I fly quite a bit and turbulence doesn’t generally startle me, but when we landed in Kathmandu, I felt a bit of relief. In fact, once we left the
Has anyone experienced flying into or out of a small airport?
My trip review of the Everest Base Camp trek can be found here