Departing Kathmandu

Kathmandu’s international airport has been described with many words. Efficiency, speed or cleanliness are never among them.

My flight is scheduled for 7:40 and I wanted to be at the airport at least two hours prior to that.

Asking at my guest house about transportation, the first guy told me the airport wouldn’t open before 6:00. Another source said it would be open around the clock. The airport’s website didn’t make any statement at all.

Finally I had arranged for a taxi for just past five in the morning, not knowing whether I’d arrive at an airport in full motion or still locked down.

The driver showed up according to plan and I squeezed myself and my bags into the tiny cab. 800cc, my last bike had 650…

It’s 5:05 when we pull off the curb and drive down the deserted streets of Thamel. For a second, but really just a second, the narrow lanes remind me of Cádiz.

Traffic is all but non-existent at this time of the day and it’s not even 5:20 when the driver drops me off at the international terminal.

It is still closed but people have already queued outside. Only minutes later, the terminal is opened and passengers start to trickle in.

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The guy at check in crushes my hopes of an exit row window seat, pointing out that I already have a reservation for bulkhead. I’m spoiled.

The airport is grinding into motion ever so slowly and immigration hasn’t even opened. They do so at six and I’m the first client of the day.

So far Kathmandu international has been better than it’s reputation. That being said I’m not keen to find out how they perform mid-day, with a bunch of flights about to depart and not just a handful.

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Watching the tiny domestic flights take off now. Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines – you’ve got to believe in reincarnation to board those.

Update 1:
The two year old A330 is spotless and you could eat off the floor.

Seated next two me is a young family, the usual risk when sitting bulkhead. The 18 month old boy is noisy already. It’s going to be a long flight.

Yes! Just after take off, the family is moved to four empty seats farther back. Leaves me with plenty of space.

Despite having gotten only a few hours of sleep, I’m feeling reasonably fit. Kinda expected to be a drooling wreck.

Flight is long and quiet. For the final touch, TK treats us to a 20 minute bumpy crosswind landing with a 270 degree turn around Istanbul.

Five minutes before touchdown the first kid starts throwing up. People left and right follow suit and the sound of retching is filling the cabin. I’m bored, I think I might be flying too much.

Update 2:
Woah, when did IST get free wifi? Last time I came through here, in 2015, they were asking hard cash for it. If they manage to make their staff friendly, this could become a decent airport.

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Second flight of the day left on time and reached Bremen in something like three hours.

Man, Germany is clean. Not a single chewing gum wrapper littering the side of the road.

I’m staying at my family’s place now and it feels like paradise. Everything is so clean, the bathroom doesn’t have a single stain. Did the plane crash? Am I in heaven?