The evening before we were due to leave Kathmandu the guys at our hotel informed us that our flights had been moved forward an hour, which we didn’t really question at the time. However, when we showed up at the airport the women at Agri Air’s desk reviewed their print-outs and shrugged their shoulders in a way that indicated this was not in fact the case. This prompted the more skeptical in our group (I’m looking at you, Josh) to produce a series of potential scam theories, such as:
- The guys at the hotel just didn’t want to get up and make us breakfast at 6am so they told us our flights had been moved.
- Their buddy with a taxi was busy at the time we wanted a lift (which is true) so they told us we needed to leave earlier. For which they also charged us an early morning extra fee.
There’s also the possibility that everyone involved was totally disorganised and their scraps-of-paper-filing method had failed.
So, anyway, we were at the airport bright and early and had prepared ourselves for a little bit of chaos. It is actually quite entertaining if you can handle the idea that you probably won’t be catching the flight you’re booked on to.
Negotiating the ticket counter at 6am with no coffee in your bloodstream is a task that Rob and Josh handled very well, though without any actual success. Stood at the desk side by side with their elbows out they failed to prevent wiley porters with 20 bags of luggage pushing in front of them, waving their tickets in the air.
We all watched in disbelief as the Nepalese piled their bags up on the weighing scales and then, when told they were too heavy, piled the exact same bags up in a different order and were given the go-ahead. Amazing.
All the same we got through to the waiting room, where we waited. And then a while later got on to the little 14-seater plane, where we sat and waited some more.
It was a short flight once we were eventually in the air, followed by an insane landing on Lukla’s single, and very short, runway, with a well timed emergency-style brake and 45 degree sharp turn to the right. There was a round of applause for the pilot, and we were quickly ushered off the plane. We were alive, that’s what counts.