It is a quite common thing to the frequent Everest travelers that Lukla flights can get canceled, even at the last minute. Due to the bad and unpredictable weather conditions in the Himalayas, Lukla-Kathmandu-Lukla flights are inconsistent. This happens usually during the onset of the monsoon season until the early fall season.
Rapid change in weather conditions may call out to make changes in the initially planned itinerary. During the monsoon seasons, there often are flight delays throughout Nepal. But, mostly in the high mountainous areas, delays or cancelations have become regular and habitual.
Plan B – Alternative Options
In the first place, we always suggest our clients to have at least 2 to 3 extra days for contingencies, like flight delays or cancelations prior to trek. These delays or cancelations have the possibilities of variation on the tour departure dates. In case of bad weather that may disrupt flights to and from Lukla, our contingency plans are as follows:
- If there are flight cancelations, for any reasons, you will return to your hotel for an additional night.
- You may have to opt using your emergency funds to cover the cost of a chartered helicopter or form a group up to 5 people, who will need to pay up to $500 per person. Chartering a heli on your own is a costly affair and they may charge you anywhere between $2000 to 2500.
- Alternatively, you may change your trekking destination to Annapurna Base Camp, Langtang Valley Trek, or Mardi Himal Trek.
Helicopter flights ensure maximum chances of getting into Lukla and back during the daylight time.
What happens if my flight is canceled and not delayed?
Flight delays are quite normal in the Himalayan regions, especially during the monsoon seasons. So, if you have limited time, the only alternative is to take a helicopter ride to Lukla in case of flight cancelations. From Lukla, you will follow the same itinerary as planned earlier. If you are unable to fly by heli on the same day, and fly the next day instead, then your intended itinerary will lag behind by one day.
Himalayan Glacier is flexible to address the interest of those who intend to embark on a private trek. However, on group treks, all trekkers need to discuss about the possibilities and make a common decision. If you are already lagging behind by a day or two due to bad weather, the pre-intended itinerary will be pushed further by the same number of days.
In order not to miss your international flight back home, we suggest that you have a few extra days even after your trek. There may be delays or cancelations of flights from Lukla to Kathmandu as well. We will try to stick with our intended itinerary as far as possible. In case you do not have extra days with you after your trek and Lukla flights get canceled, you will need to change the date for your international flight back home.
Driving option to Ramechhap Airport
If conditions arise that you need to reach Ramechhap to catch a flight to Lukla, then it is quite hectic, but worth it! Probably, you’ll have to wake up very early (maybe as early as 2 am). You will then board a private vehicle that will transfer you to Ramechhap, which is about 130 km from Kathmandu. It is around a 5-hour drive through the meandering roads and green countryside. This ride comes to you at no additional cost.
If you are uncomfortable waking up very early, you may travel to Ramechhap a day earlier, starting at about 2 or 3 pm and stay overnight at a tourist hotel nearby the airport in Ramechhap. However, the hotels in Ramechhap aren’t as comfy as those in Kathmandu. The following morning, you will drive for half an hour to reach the airport and catch a flight to Lukla. Fortunately, chances of flight cancelation from Ramechhap are comparably very less than from Kathmandu.
After your arrival in Kathmandu, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will meet and greet you. He will also inform you about the pre-trip discussion meeting, either at our office or in your hotel lobby. Try not skipping this session as it is very important for you being well-briefed about your upcoming trip!
Your trek leader will provide you with updated information regarding any delays or cancelations of flights.