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Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

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Singapore
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Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Hi!

I'm planning an EBC/Gokyo trek in early April 2014 and I plan to get my plane tickets from Kathmandu to Lukla from a local trekking agent (where I also plan to hire my guide) once I get there. I've done some research and found mixed opinions on the ease of getting the flight tickets on a short notice, seeing that April might see more tourists and erratic weather conditions.

I have planned a two-day buffer once I land in Kathmandu and plan to fly out on the morning of the third day. Is that sufficient time to get a guide and a ticket, and how doable is it? Is it better that I try to contact a local trekking agent there in advance to book my tickets? Any other tips would be very much appreciated by me :)

Thanks for reading!

France
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for Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Region
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1. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Hello NoannaJ,

Welcome to Nepal forum!

Personally, I recommend you to arrange your flight tickets in advance so that you will get earlier flights. Earlier flights generally have more chances to fly than late flights. You can ask a local agent to book the tickets in advance but not the guide or anything. You can book the guide once you arrive in Kathmandu.

Another option might be booking your flight tickets online but not sure if that is doable. I always booked tickets with local agent. Please check Tara Air website at: http://www.taraair.com/ if you can make any bookings online.

Good Luck!

Singapore
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2. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Thanks! I think I will probably go with trying to contact a local agent online and having them book an advanced ticket online.

I have another smaller question though: will they be able to book in advance for my (as of then, unhired) guide as well? I understand that I am responsible for my guide's plane ticket there, and I'm not sure if they can help my guide book a ticket without his particulars. I want to fly there together with my guide so I'm trying to avoid a situation where I can secure my own ticket in advance but not my guide's :)

France
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for Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Region
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3. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

They can only book the ticket of the guide but can not issue the ticket without the name of the guide. So, there might be no problem for your ticket to book in advance but if you do not have name of the guide then they won't be able to issue the ticket. Either you need to have your guide's name in advance or have to book for both once you arrive in Nepal. As exactly you mentioned on your last sentence, there is no meaning to booking your tickets in advance but not your guide's. As far as I know booking and issuing the ticket is different. Issuing the ticket is confirming the ticket where booking is only trying to reserve the seat. If airline have people to confirm the flights then your booking will go behind confirmed people.

I had terrible experience on 2010 with a local travel agency. They only booked the ticket in stead of confirming it an other people confirmed the ticket before us. At last there were no flights for us so we had to drive all the way to Beni and Pokhara. This was in Jomsom [not in Lukla].

If you do not have your guide's name in advance then there is no meaning to confirm your ticket now, just wait till you are in Nepal. You will get the tickets for sure but you will have less chances to get earlier flights. If you confirm your tickets only then the situation can go even worse. You better fly together with your guide even if it is late. If the weather is good then the airlines fly even during late afternoon.

Good Luck!

Kathmandu, Nepal
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4. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Hi Nonnaj

Ya you got some info already by the destination expert. you have still enough time to book the flights tickets.

So what i want to suggest you is you may find some good trekking company here in Kathmandu, you may google them. Make sure trekking company is registrar in Nepal government. Contact with trekking company and talk to them about your interest and if you like any company you can hire guide form. The company will book your and guide flights to Lukla together and they will make TIMS cards and permit for you for your trip. If you want company will book hotel for you on your choice and will come to pick up you in Kathmandu airport too.

I think this the best and easy idea, it is just my opinion. You may do whatever you like.

Good luck

Sali

Edited: 07 July 2013, 06:58
Cumbria
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5. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

I would also consider reserving your flight through a TAAN registered Kathmandu Agent, Usually you can then pay for it when you arrive in Nepal (Unless you are flying to Lukla the day after you arrive in Nepal, in that case you would have to send a deposit to cover any losses a agent would incur if for some reason you didn’t show up.- But as you have planned a couple of days in Kathmandu when you arrive paying a deposit won’t apply to you)

Take your best guess at when you will want your return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu and book an open return for that date, then when you get back to Namche Bazaar if you are either ahead or behind schedule you can ring the airline office from there and book seats on the next available flight (In busy time and especially when backlogs occur during spells of poor weather it won’t harm to also ring the airline office from Namche Bazaar and confirm your flight date)

This is a Much better option than hanging around Lukla for a day or so awaiting your flight as Namche and the surrounding area as a lot more to offer.

Aim to arrive back in Lukla early afternoon the day before you fly back to Kathmandu and stay in “The Sunrise Lodge” The owner of this lodge has “Power” with the airlines and will accompany you to the office, which opens around 3 to confirm your flight, and help ensure your name is on the list

But whatever you do, don’t tie yourself into hiring trekking staff by paying a hefty deposit until you arrive in Nepal and meet up with them to ensure that they are suitable for you.

When hiring out “Staff” the secret of a successful trek is to set the ground rules Before you leave Kathmandu and these rules should include

1) Always interview your “Staff” Before you go trekking with them, Preferably get them to give you a walking tour around Kathmandu, Then they are away from the office, will be able to talk freely and you will be in a better position to judge their ability to communicate, character and if you are going to be able to get on well enough with them on your trek.

2)Ask if he has already trekked the route you are going on and how many times

3) Tell them that You Always retain the final say where you will stay and where and when you will eat.

Personally I am Happy to look at places recommended by my “Staff” (As I am aware that some places look after Nepali’s a lot better than others, better accommodation as well as better / cheaper food for them + if they get a little kick-back then as long as I am happy with the standard as well as the price that I am paying this doesn’t bother me)

4) I also mention to them that as long as I am happy with their services then they will get a Good Tip – I think this clears the air and gives your “Staff” that extra incentive to ensure that you are well looked after.

5) The agent that I use provides all his “Staff” with a mobile phone – I also think this is an excellent idea so that if there is a problem then (providing you have a phone Signal) these can be Quickly sorted out.

6) Before I start a trek is to have a rough schedule, then I know approximately how many days I will be trekking for, to this I usually add one buffer day, so If all goes according to plan I am usually back from my trek one day ahead, With this the agent that is use I can claim one days fees back, but in reality, as I have always been happy with my treks, I have never done this, but have ensured that my “Staff” are still paid the extra day.

Another system that the agent I use has is that if you want to extend your trek, if it takes longer than originally anticipated or if for what ever reason you are delayed then you can pay your “Staff” direct. This works well for everyone as the “Staff” in actual fact get more money as there is no agents commission deducted and as the agent has already had his cut he is (Or should be) happy as well.

7) It is also worth making 100% sure that your “Staff” are insured and that the agent is making sure that their clothing is up to the standard for the area / season you are trekking in.

It may sound like a bit of a list – But personally I think it is well worth that little extra effort at the beginning of your trek to help minimise potential unforeseen problems later :-)

Happy and Safe Trekking

Rob

Singapore
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6. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Wow, thank you all so much for the invaluable advice and anecdotes! It has definitely helped to fine-tune my plans more and gave me more areas of consideration I didn't previously think of :)

What I think I'll do is to scout around the internet for some good trekking companies first, contact them and ask if they could reserve two tickets for an early flight, and when I've gotten by guide, I can confirm with them again, and hopefully there would still be space for an early flight. Even if it does get pushed back, I could possibly try for a late morning/afternoon flight, or an early flight the next morning after the second buffer day.

Thanks for all the awesome advice! Time to head back to the drawing board and sort things out more :) Dang, April seems so far away!

Kathmandu, Nepal
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7. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Hi!

Good advice already posted above. 3/4 days of buffer time is enough to arrange your flight to Lukla. There is 2 option for the guide. If you want to meet your guide in Kathmandu to be sure about the nature and behaviour of your guide, you can find after your arrival which will make you to pay Kathmandu to Lukla flight for your guide as well. Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is $140 and for your guide will be around $ 60. You can also get individual guide at Lukla which will make you save the air fare for guide from Kathmandu. As it is not a mandatory to find agency for your travel arrangement, its secure and easy with good agency. The trek is doable and self manageable.

Best of luck in advance1

AFA

Kathmandu, Nepal
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8. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

Hello AFA and friends

Lukla flight cost will be $159 from Sep 1st. I just got information it might go till $190 for one way.

Thanks

Sali

Singapore, Singapore
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9. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

hi noannaj, i did my EBC trek last year in feb. was an awesome experience! however i had some hiccups with my flight out to lukla as the weather conditions were not very good. Thank god i had my guide to settle the tickets for me. the local airport for flights out into the mountains or pokhara can be quite intimidating!

let me know if you need any help!

Cumbria
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10. Re: Planning flights between Kathmandu and Lukla in April

No Problem

Pleased to be of help – Just be very careful when selecting your agent as a good agent will do all you ask for a fair price, where a bad one will ruin your trip, be especially careful of unsolicited emails and Always Google any recommendations you are sure to receive – Both Good and Bad feedback will be available on the net and no feedback at all is also something to look out for ;-)

Good Luck and happy safe Travels in Nepal

Rob