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Kathmandu To Lukla- Ramechhap A new Route 2024

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Kathmandu To Lukla- Ramechhap a new Route 2024


Flying from Kathmandu to Lukla now takes a new route, operating from Ramechhap starting October 1, 2022. This strategic shift aims to alleviate air traffic congestion experienced during peak tourist seasons in both spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Airlines are now mandated to station their aircraft at Ramechhap overnight for all Lukla-bound flights, ensuring smoother operations and better service delivery. To facilitate this transition, we offer overnight accommodation in Ramechhap, allowing travelers to catch early flights to Lukla and embark on their adventures promptly.

Convenient Travel Logistics: Kathmandu to Ramechhap

Embarking on your journey from Kathmandu to Ramechhap is a seamless experience, with a travel duration of approximately 5-7 hours. The picturesque drive through winding mountain roads to Manthali sets the stage for an unforgettable expedition. For optimal timing, we recommend departing from Kathmandu at 1 pm, ensuring a comfortable journey to Ramechhap and timely arrival for your flight to Lukla.

Reliable Flight Operations: Departing from Ramechhap

Flights originating from Ramechhap boast enhanced reliability, particularly during the early morning hours when Lukla airport is typically free from low mist and fog. This favorable weather condition increases the likelihood of successful take-offs and landings, offering travelers a smoother and more efficient journey compared to flights departing from Kathmandu. At Kailash Himalaya Trek, we prioritize arranging early flights to ensure our trek members reach Lukla or return to Ramechhap promptly, optimizing their overall travel experience.

Variance in Airfare

The airfare for flights to and from Lukla is subject to fluctuations, influenced by various factors including booking dates, flight schedules, and operational algorithms. While it’s challenging to provide exact fares, historical data offers insights into pricing trends. For instance, in spring 2022, Kathmandu airfare was $186, preceding a rise to $196 in autumn 2022 (source: airline). Leveraging online booking portals may unveil cost-effective options, as they consider nuanced variables often overlooked by travelers. Additionally, factors such as fuel surcharges and taxes imposed by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) contribute to fare differentials, highlighting the importance of comprehensive research before booking your flight.

Baggage Allowance

Domestic airlines servicing mountain destinations adhere to specific baggage allowances, permitting 10kg for check-in luggage and 5kg for hand-carry bags. Excess baggage incurs additional charges ranging from US$1 to $1.5 per kilogram, varying across carriers. Understanding and adhering to these regulations ensures a hassle-free travel experience, allowing you to focus on the journey ahead.

Exploring Lukla: Gateway to Adventure

Situated at an altitude of 2,800 meters, Lukla serves as the gateway to numerous treks in the Everest region, offering a vibrant array of lodges, shops, and essential amenities. Renowned as Hillary Tenzing Airport, its unique airstrip is nestled amidst steep inclines, catering to short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft. While its picturesque setting captivates travelers, the airport is susceptible to adverse weather conditions, necessitating flexibility in travel plans to accommodate unforeseen delays.

Embracing the Journey: Spectacular Mountain Views

Embarking on a flight to Lukla promises awe-inspiring vistas of the Himalayan landscape, showcasing 18 majestic peaks, including four towering above 8,000 meters. Spring and autumn unveil the full splendor of the Eastern Himalayas, offering passengers an unparalleled visual feast. While the standard flight duration is 35 minutes, variations may occur due to weather dynamics, ensuring every moment of the journey remains captivating and memorable.

 Early Booking Essentials

Securing your flight to Lukla well in advance is paramount, especially during peak tourist seasons. By planning your trek at least 3 to 4 months ahead, you ensure availability on your preferred date and time, mitigating potential scheduling conflicts. Early morning flights present optimal departure opportunities, capitalizing on favorable weather conditions and minimizing the risk of disruptions due to low cloud cover and mist.

 Flight Cancellations and delays

Due to difficult mountain terrain and uncertain weather conditions, all domestic flights, especially flights to mountain destinations, can get delayed or canceled. Though spring and autumn have better weather, the airstrips in the mountain destination are still very susceptible to low fog and strong winds. Travel insurance is highly recommended for such contingencies.

Here are some conditions when flights are canceled or delayed:

  • The weather pattern has been changing. This has created quite a bit of uncertainty in our perception of seasonal weather condition
  • Due to flight cancellations and delays, all subsequent flights get delayed or postponed. This creates a huge backlog of passengers trying to get out of the remote airstrips.
  • Even if you arrive early from the trek at Lukla, the chances of getting on early flights out to Kathmandu are usually remote. You may still end up waiting for your confirmed scheduled flight. Moreover, during peak tourist season, hotels in Kathmandu get overbooked. That means you may have to stay in alternative accommodations and end up paying extra.
  • In a dire situation, a helicopter comes into play at a stiff price of about US$350 to $450 per person (the helicopter can carry 5 passengers). The price may depend on demand and supply too. A charter helicopter usually costs $2000 to $2500. Helicopters have limited baggage-carrying capacity. You should not be surprised if your baggage is left behind. Your baggage will follow you later.

 

  • All kinds of trading go on in such a situation. Sometimes helicopter handlers trade passenger air tickets at a discount price. Most often, due to chaotic and confusing situations, when flights are canceled, confirmed air tickets get swapped and are considered a no-show. Often, when checked with an airline, it says their system shows it is used. The condition becomes most confusing when a member deals directly with the helicopter and seeks to find other alternative option
  • Flight and weather information is often passed on through various channels. The delivered information is often second and third-hand, mostly originating from airlines and people who are on the ground. Though such news or information cannot be said 100 percent reliable yet such news and information are to be considered the best available. You can use the internet to access information about ground weather conditions or find TIA flight data but it is not of much real value
  • At Kailash Himalaya Trek, we do our best to rearrange flights when flights are canceled. It is always a chaotic and uphill struggle to deal with flight cancellations. In such a situation helicopter flight (rescue) is the only viable alternative

Helicopter Solutions: A Viable Alternative

In instances of flight cancellations or technical issues, helicopters offer a reliable alternative to conventional air travel, providing expedited transport when weather conditions improve. While helicopter arrangements require time and financial investment, they serve as a valuable contingency plan, ensuring travelers can proceed with their journey without undue delay. Embracing flexibility and preparedness enables adventurers to navigate unforeseen challenges with confidence, maximizing the enjoyment of their Himalayan experience.

Conclusion

If flights are cancelled due to bad weather or technical reasons helicopters are a good alternative  until the weather in Lukla is clear.  Helicopter arrangements do take time. It depends upon its availability and its location. The helicopter works on a charter basis. Even if you are two you still have to pay for five (max passenger in a helicopter). It is best to allow a budget of at least $500 per person. Once you have ordered a helicopter you cannot retract the order or cancel it. Full payment has to be made. Any deviation to other destination points like Phakding, Namche or Syangboche entails an additional charge.

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