Himalayan Flight Delays
Many of our treks require the use of an internal flight from Kathmandu into and out of the Himalayas. These flights fly early each morning and they ‘fly by sight’ which means that if there is cloud cover, or bad weather in Kathmandu, or at the destination, then there can be delays. Since they normally fly in the mornings (when the weather is clearest) the delays are not a few hours, but can be one or two days.
If necessary we can be flexible and adapt the itinerary to catch up on, or absorb lost days, but if the planes can’t fly, then there is little that we can do except wait. This doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen and some years are better / worse than others. You should be particularly aware of this if your trek is very early, very late, or outside of the main seasons. You should consider possible impacts on international flights.
Occasionally the planes can’t fly but helicopters can; if the trek team as a whole prefers this option we can certainly organise it, but there would be a supplemental charge and exact costs can't be guaranteed until the time as prices are based on demand / supply. As an estimate you can expect to pay between $300 - $500pp for a chopper to / from Lukla. This cost must be paid for by the clients in full at the time and any receipts for this will be given directly to you should you wish to make a claim on your insurance. Any reimbursement from the originally booked aeroplane flight will be refunded to you.
If your flight is delayed flying out of Kathmandu into the mountains and if that means you'll have to reduce the number of days on your trek or trip, then we can offer people full board accommodation in our own guest house, if availability exists, in lieu of those lost trek days. If there is no availability in our guest house, or if you prefer to stay in Thamel, then we will instead reimburse you $35pp/d for the days that you're in Kathmandu and again in lieu of accommodation / meals that you have lost had you been on the trek.
If the trek team as a whole has the ability to extend their trek dates and use the same number of days on the trek as originally planned, then no additional payments / accommodation would be made for delayed days in Kathmandu. The same applies to the return flight from the mountains back to Kathmandu in that, if people stay on for extra days outside of their original itinerary, then costs for additional accommodation or meals in Lukla (or elsewhere) would need to be paid for by the individual.
A flight delay can be a frustrating experience, especially when you have to go to the airport each morning in the hope of clear weather, to potentially be turned away again come lunch time, but it is very much part of the realities and experience of air travel in the Himalayas. If you are delayed in the city then there is lot's to see and do in Kathmandu. Most treks have a day or two of bad weather days factored into the itinerary or days that we can double up on when descending from altitude, but the best advice is to give yourself an extra day to cover you in Kathmandu and in most cases it's simply an extra day that allows you to enjoy the vibrancy of the city.