Flying to Lukla Airport

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Flying to Lukla Airport – What Do You Need To Know?

Your Flight To Lukla Airport

If you want to trek to Everest Base Camp then the chances are you are going to need to fly into the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla.

Nearly every trek used to start with a flight from Kathmandu but since the 1st October 2022 all flights to Luklal now fly from Ramechhap.

Please read our Blog Post – Lukla Flights Now To Fly From Ramechhap – What You Need To Know?

Lukla sits at an altitude of 2860m. The airport is an important piece of infrastructure, due to it being the only vehicular access to the Khumbu region. This means the majority of trekkers and climbers come through it during the year as well as supplies and equipment also use the airport.

The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla would take around 35 minutes, but now the flight from Ramechhap only takes around 12 minutes. When you fly over the Nepalese countryside and into the mountains you can clearly see why vehicular access into the Khumbu is difficult.


Is Lukla Airport Safe?

Lukla airport is described all over the world as the ‘Most Dangerous Airport in the World’. It gets this title mainly because of the geography of the airport’s location as well as its very short runway and limited electricity.

But let’s put this into some perspective. During the trekking seasons there are around 30 planes a day landing and taking off from the airport. This brings over 30,000 trekkers a year into the airport. Since its opening in 1964 there have been 10 plane crashes in Lukla, with the last one being in 2008.

Since 2008 the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) have become more strict on the flight conditions and regulations planes are allowed to fly and land in. This has greatly improved the safety of the airport as well as passenger safety.

Are Delays In Lukla Airport Common?

Delays are very common either flying to Lukla or when taking off again from Lukla. With the weather conditions being very variable at Lukla flights are often delayed or canceled completely for the day. On some occasions you can be flying to Lukla and then your plane will need to turn around as it is not safe to land.

It is very important when you are planning your trek you add in some contingency days in your plan to allow for these delays. You don’t want to miss your international flight home!

Lukla Airport, EBC trek

Does Insurance Cover Canceled Flights In Lukla Airport?

Some travel insurance policies cover ‘trip interruption’ from a canceled or rescheduled flight. It is certainly worth checking with your insurance company before you depart to see if this either is included, or you can add it to your policy for peace of mind.

You will normally need to cover the additional cost upfront and then claim the money back from the insurance company. If you are traveling with the Bucket List Company then we will happily provide you with all of the documentation you will need for your claim.

Can You Get A Helicopter To Lukla Airport?

Helicopters are still flying from Kathmandu so you could arrange a helicopter and not even think about a fixed winged plane. Helicopters have more flexibility to land in Lukla and will often still be able to fly when fixed winged planes are unable.

The cost of a helicopter from Kathmandu to Lukla is around $2500 – $3000 and this can be split between 5 persons. Just remember though if you have a guide you will also need to cover their costs of the helicopter for them as well.

It is also possible that if you are delayed in Ramechhap due to poor weather, a helicopter can be organised to get you to either Lukla or Surkhe. Surkhe is an hour’s walk below Lukla and is often used to land helicopters as the visibility is often better than Lukla.

If you want to get a helicopter due to a canceled flight in Ramechhap or Lukla, this would be at your additional expense. You will generally get refunded $150 from your canceled fixed wing flight.

Fly to Lukla Airport on Everest Base Camp hike

What Is The Baggage Allowance For Flights To Lukla Airport?

The baggage allowance for your flight to Lukla is 15kg. This Includes both your Duffle bag and your day pack.

Please check out our full article – How Much Can My Bag Weigh on The Lukla Flight?

What If I Don’t Want To Fly Into Lukla Airport?

If you really don’t want to fly into Lukla there is still another option for you. You could get a jeep to Jiri and then start your trek from there. This is the original path used by Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition. Using this option is going to add an additional 5 days onto your itinerary. But if you want to trek the original route and avoid Lukla airport then this could be a great option for you.

Having been to Lukla now more times than I have fingers it can either go smoothly or can be a nightmare of delays. Traveling with a tour operator gives you some added advantages.

  1. We also book your flights so we are on either the first or second flights of the day. These flights have more chances of flying than later flights. 
  2. We have a great relationship with our flight agent – when it comes to canceled or delayed flights we will get priority for the next day over other trekkers. 
  3. If you get delayed and need to stay in Ramechhap overnight we will have group accommodation and you wont need to go and find yourself somewhere to stay.
  4. Our Flight agent is always at the airport with us. If no planes are going and guests want helicopters to Lukla this will be sorted for you.

Any of our trips to the Khumbu are amazing. From the standard Everest Base Camp Trek to Mera Peak you will have an amazing time and experience – Lukla airport is just part of that adventure!

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