Lukla Flight Cancellations And Best Alternatives: What You Need to Know

  • Rohit Subedi
  • Last Updated on Nov 26, 2023

The Kathmandu to Lukla flight has always been disrupted, cancelled, or delayed whenever unfavourable weather conditions in the Everest region exist.

If you are going to Everest for Everest expeditions or Everest base camp trek, which requires a flight to Lukla, ensure that you have a few spare days of stay in Nepal.  

In September or early October and the late spring, the flights are mostly cancelled due to weather conditions in Lukla. Lukla's runway is constructed on a slope, and if there are clouds around, it is too risky for Lukla flights to land. Thus, the weather can still cancel flights even if it is a lovely sunny day in Kathmandu.

If your Lukla flight is cancelled today and there is a need for a ticket rebooking, our ticketing agent will do it. Still, we give preference to the passengers who were originally booked on that day, and seats given are to those who cancel their previous flights at lower priorities. Several days of flights being cancelled due to weather can create a backlog of people trying to get on limited flights into Lukla.

Several alternative options have been developed today with the frequent Kathmandu to Lukla flight cancellations and delays. For example, due to Lukla Flight Cancellations today, hundreds of tourists waiting in Kathmandu to fly to Lukla took their flights to Ramechhap Airport or Phaplu Airport instead. Several have also taken a ride in a jeep to Phaplu and started their walk from there, but some others have given up because of lack of time.

During peak season, like in the autumn period, Tenzing-Hillary Airport, based in Lukla, remains busy since it is the gateway to the Khumbu region and Mt Everest. Airlines flying into the area commenced operating flights toPhaplu Airport, which reduced the distance of Lukla from Ramechhap for willing tourists and locals.

Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. In every high trekking season, thousands of adventure trekkers from across the world come to see this top of the world and the base camp of this mountain. Several trekking trails in the Everest region offer spectacular views of some of the mightiest Himalayas that are hard to erase from memory.

The route for trekking is through the UNESCO Sagarmatha National Park to the Everest base camp. The Everest base camp trek from the Everest region is one of the most commonly adopted routes by trekkers and is arguably the most popular among several trekking itineraries. All the trekking trails in this region are very good.

All Everest treks begin with a scenic mountain flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. It is a small runway airport atop a cliff. It is the most common starting point for this region's Everest Base Camp Trek and other treks.

If you search "world's most dangerous airport," Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal, is always on the list. The airport's location, with a very short runway and lack of electricity, makes this the world's most dangerous airport. 

Today, we will discuss the Lukla flight cancellations and their alternatives. For example, those who cannot spare their time may board a shared flight Lukla helicopter. However, if you select a helicopter, we shall refund the flight ticket price, and you will pay separately for the helicopter, which may be expensive but totally worth it. 

Table of Contents

What are the Chances of Lukla Flight Cancellations Today?

Many travellers seeking to visit the picturesque Lukla area of Nepal wonder, “What are the chances of Lukla Flight Cancellations and delays?”. Indeed, this is one of the greatest fears since Lukla flights often get canceled and delayed due to the unpredictable weather and the great influx of tourists in peak season for the Everest base camp trek. 

The chances of a Lukla flight being delayed or cancelled are almost certain. 

The morning normally has favorable weather conditions; hence, the day's final flight is usually the target for cancellation as this last flight is prone to cancellations. However, cancellations in the last Lukla flights may affect the next morning's first flight, which could be either canceled or diverted since the aircraft remains in Lukla or Ramechhap.

Moreover, Flight delays from about half an hour up to several hours are frequent in this region because of the poor and extremely unstable weather. This occurs especially at the beginning or tail end of the rainy season and during peak aviation activities.

It also makes Lukla Helicopter Flights possible because it is fitted with a shorter runway and ends with a cliff that can only accommodate smaller aeroplanes like Dornier and Twin Otters. The weather in Lukla changes swiftly, and flights are often disrupted because there is only a short runway. Unfavourable weather conditions during the flight in Lukla make the schedule more vulnerable to interference.

If clouds emerge at the Lukla airport, flights from Kathmandu may have to return. In the monsoon season, from late May to early September, it’s quite usual for the Lukla flights to be postponed or even cancelled.

We advise that people trek during spring and autumn when the weather is dry, clear, and stable for a smooth travel experience. Flights are not cancelled or delayed during this period. On the other hand, during the monsoon and winter seasons, with dense fog, strong winds, rains, and patchy clouds, flight disruptions are higher. People going to Nepal should budget one or two more days in case their flights have to be changed or cancelled.

What Happens After Lukla Flight Cancellations?

Let's say your Lukla flight got cancelled today. So what happens after Lukla's flight cancellations?

The only thing worse than a Lukla flight delay is finding out it has been cancelled, usually after waiting hours at the airport. Airline companies frequently choose to cancel such flights, resulting in passengers rescheduling for the next day's flight. Unfortunately, getting seats for those flights in advance is hard as other passengers usually book them.

As a result, passengers only have two choices: staying until late flights or taking same-day choppers. It also incurs extra expenses of around 300-500 dollars along with the general flight ticket, but if you share your flight with other passengers. 

The use of chartered helicopters is more expensive, and they could cost between 2,500 and 3,000 dollars.

This is why you should add more days when planning your Everest Trek itinerary to be able to navigate through such unexpected occurrences. However, this precautionary step allows for rescheduling plans should a flight be delayed. 

In addition, individuals worried about losing their international flights from Kathmandu should buy a flexible international airline ticket. The above strategy ensures that any flights cancelled at these sites will not lead to changes in travel plans and, therefore, less pressure during tourism to places like Lukla, Annapurna base camp, and Langtang Gosainkunda Lake trek.

Lukla Flight Cancellations Best Alternatives

For those who want Lukla flight cancellation alternatives, you can choose helicopters or trekking to Everest base camp from Phaplu and Jiri. They encompass varied landscapes of Sherpa valleys, among other vegetation and wildlife. The main objectives of these options are to finish the Everest trek and make it back home via Lukla.

While driving from Kathmandu to Salleri takes a lot, it offers a distinct experience as you discover your countryside. Adopting Lukla flight cancellation options will enable you to avoid worries associated with flight delays, weather variations, and difficult Lukla airport landings. Instead, you'll be treated to the locals' traditional lifestyles and warm hospitality, making the holidays wholesome.

However, if you want to know whether it is possible to travel by bus from Kathmandu to Lukla, the answer is no. Here are more details about Lukla Flight cancellations' alternative options below. 

Alternative No 1: Helicopter To Lukla From Kathmandu 

The best alternative option for Lukla flight cancellations is to choose a helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. This fast and reliable option provides a journey time of about 40 to 60 minutes.

It is especially suitable for people with a flexible budget who want to save time. It is the most reliable way to get to Lukla, though it involves more expenditure. For this journey, one should go to Lukla in Tenzing Hillary Airport, which is available at Kathmandu’s TIA domestic terminal, and take a helicopter ride. The helicopter journey usually lasts about 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

The fare for a helicopter to Lukla is around $2000 to $3000, which is very cheap if you share the cost with several co-passengers. The helicopter can carry a maximum of 5 people and has a carrying capacity of 400 kg. Well-known carriers that offer Lukla helicopter services include Simrik Air,Air Dynasty, Kailash Heli, and Summit Helicopters. 

On arrival at Lukla, you will either begin your walk to the Everest Region or continue by helicopter to Everest Base Camp sightseeing flight. Some tourists decide to fly directly back to Kathmandu at the end of their Everest Base Camp trek instead of taking the return flight.

Alternative 2: Drive Via Phaplu to Tham Danda

The trek to Lukla on foot is slowly becoming a more dependable option after frequent Lukla flight cancellations and delays. This alternative is best for tourists who want an extra day or two to add to their tour and do not want to worry about the problems involved with Lukla flights.

To overcome Lukla flight cancellation problems, the best alternative is to drive to Phaplu via a jeep. The following morning, find you at the village for a night’s rest before trekking to Lukla.

Phaplu is approximately 270 km from the city, meaning it takes about a day to travel by car from the city of Kathmandu. It usually takes three to four days to trek from Phaplu to Lukla. This route is risky during June and July since the roads are slippery due to the monsoon season.

In recent years, the roads in the Solu region were expanded, enabling private and public jeep services from Kathmandu to Thamedanda, a small village.

You can also take a Jeep drive directly to Thamedanda via Phaplu

The first step involves taking a jeep from Kathmandu, which takes about 9 hours to Phaplu. From Phaplu, travel the rest of the 6 hours by jeep to Thamedanda. One can hike from Lukla, which is a very remote village, and do it within two days.

This will be the shortest way to reach Lukla by road and walking from the Solu part of the country because of the improved infrastructure in that area.

Alternative 3: Drive to Jiir and Then Trek

The Drive to Jiri & Trek alternative—is a tough option but the best bet when Lukla flights get cancelled. It is a historical path in which early explorers used to walk, giving a genuine feel of walking.

The route towards Jir is approximately 190 km away. It starts in Kathmandu and takes 9 to 10 hours to complete this journey. Historically, this was referred to as the Pioneer's Route and was the access way to Lukla before the airport's construction. This untrodden trail ensures a new experience along forest routes and varied landscapes.

Trekking from Jiri to Lukla offers a variety of unforgettable events that any brave trekker would love. Visit remote villages and appreciate the beauty of the region's culture. The drive to Jiri and the trek still prove to be a dependable and worthwhile alternate destination should you encounter any flight uncertainties that may cast a shadow over your Himalayan journey.

For More details on the Jiri route, go through our package for Everest base camp by Jiri here. 

Alternatives 4: Take Ramechhap (Manthali Airport )To Lukla Flight

Experience a hassle-free Lukla flight when travelling to Nepal in the summer season and STOL flights from Ramechhap airport. This is meant to ensure smooth travels during the spring (April to May) and fall (October to November) and avoid delays and cancellations. Flights to Lukla from Ramechap are set up, making air travel simple.

In the peak season, the average number of flights to Lukla is 35 per day, indicating a high demand. The peak month of April 2023 registered 57 flights scheduled for operation from Ramechhap to Lukla.

It is situated near Kathmandu, approximately a 132 km road distance. This Manthali airport can be reached in 5 hours. Summit Airlines and others, such as Sita Air and Tara Air, offer a 20-minute flight of 20 minutes from Ramechhap to Lukla. The availability of alternate options to Lukla flight cancellations can be demonstrated with a foreign one-way ticket that costs approximately $150.

Thus, travellers could even depart from Kathmandu at 2 a.m. to reach their destination before breakfast. However, it may become prudent to drive to Ramechhap one day early and have sufficient rest to start afresh.

This alternate route provides flexibility and convenience with approximately 15 daily flights to Lukla, departing between 6 a.m. and 9: 15 Am. Moreover, several travel organisations and tour companies assisting in the Everest Base Trek provide transport from Kathmandu to Ramechhap, facilitating a smooth trek.

How to Reach Ramechhap (Manthali Airport )

The distance from Kathmandu to Ramechap airport is about 4 hours. The duration of your flight will determine how you report to Ramechap an hour before check-in. To the east of Kathmandu is an airport called Ramchap, which lies 130 kilometres away. Kathmandu is a four-hour trip because of the two-lane highway. The road is in good condition, and a car, van, or bus can easily access the airport.

Tourists did not come to Ramechap even when all Lulka flights were redirected from there. Hotels are available near the airport, but the facilities are few, and services are minimal. They are, however, often guesthouses for local travellers. As more and more travellers pass through Ramechap to go to Lukla, new hotels are set up in Ramechhap.

Ramechhap To Lukla Flight Price

Ramechhap to Lukla flight is the new flight opening for traveling from Kathmandu to Lukla. Ramechhap Airport has become one of the easiest pre-destination for Everest Base Camp Trek, for reaching Lukla. It takes 4 and half hours to 5 hours to reach Ramechhap by drive first and then from Ramechhap to Lukla by flight.

The Cost for Indian Nationality is INR 9500 per person for one way including Transportation.

The Lukla Airport is nearer to Ramechhap Airport than Kathmandu Airport (Tribhuvan International Airport). Because of this, the flight to Lukla from Ramechhap (Manthali to Lukla flight) is much easier. This connection between Kathmandu and Lukla Ramechhap can also be proved as a nicer opportunity to explore the beautiful sights of three places with similar but different landscapes and vegetation. 

2024 Lukla Flight Status

As of 2024, three airlines are operating Lukla flights, namely Tara Air, Summit Air, and Sita Air, each having two aircraft exclusively for Lukla flights. The number of trekkers going up to Everest has also increased alongside the growing number of visitors visiting Nepal during the COVID-19 epidemic. Tourism has resumed since COVID-19 banned it in 2020 and 2021.

The increased number of climbers to the Everest region forced the airlines to shift operations from Lukla to Ramechhap Airport. In 2019, to reduce traffic congestion, all flights to Lukla were diverted from Ramechhap Airport during the repair of a single-runway at Kathmandu Airport.

From now on, Ramechhap Airport will be a staging post for all STOL flights in the peak season. Ramechhap Airport will serve as the base for all flight operations in and out of Lukla during the peak season.

Lukla Peak Season’ will now only use Ramechhap as a base for STOL flights. All flights to/from Lukla will operate via Ramechhap Airport, including the busy season.

Last Minute Helicopter Flight to Lukla 

Fly last minute from Kathmandu to Lukla on a helicopter for an affordable deal. We’ve got you covered in the event of Lukla flight cancellations. This means booking a helicopter ride to Lukla has become just as easy as booking a flight after Lukla flight cancellations.

Therefore, you are no longer limited and can make a last-minute decision to take a flight. Our last-minute minute helicopter to Lukla flights will ensure a great memory and at an incredible price. So, fly and turn any unpredictable modifications of plans into new chances for pleasure and discovery.

The cost of a charter helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla varies depending on whether it is for a private or group charter. A cost-sharing helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. As last-minute bookings, we offer group joining dates for a helicopter flight and bring together passengers based on cost sharing to board the helicopter.

The cost of the helicopter flight will be shared by the group travelling together. If you are single or your minimum number of people in your group and want to fly by helicopter to your preferred date, please reach us.

What is The Kathmandu to Lukla Flight Cost? 

The flights are operated daily by several flight operators from Kathmandu and Lukla. Adventure Altitude Treks has a good relationship with the flight operators who issue all the market and stock tickets. The authorised travel agency will enable the booking of national and international flight tickets, which shall be economical and best compared to normal ticket dealers.

Lukla flights experience a surge in demand during peak trekking seasons, typically in spring and autumn. You can save money when planning a trip during the low season. Knowing how ticket prices fluctuate because of seasonal changes helps travellers make budget-aware travel choices based on individual weather preferences.

Moreover, travelling with a group could also give rise to discount offers. Another way to save money is choosing travel packs that include flights and several other services. The cost of the Kathmandu to Lukla flight is presented below.

Airline

Class

Nepal (Including Tax)

Indian (Including Tax)

Foreigner (Including Tax)

Status

Tara Airlines

Y

Rs 5500

Inr 8370

$180

Send Inquiry

Sita Airlines

Y

Rs 5500

Inr 8370

$180

Send Inquiry

Goma / Submit Airlines

Y

Rs 5500

Inr 8370

$180

Send Inquiry

How to Book Flights Kathmandu To Lukla?

Booking a flight to Lukla, known as the gateway to the Everest region, is an adventure on its own. Follow these steps for a smooth booking process:

Research Airlines and Schedule:

First, search for airlines offering flights from Kathmandu to Lukla. The popular airlines are Tara Air, Summit Air, and Sita Air. Make sure you schedule your journey around their schedule.

Contact Local Travel Agencies:

Contact local travel agencies Like Adventure Altitude Treks in Kathmandu since they can usually make reservations. Some famous agencies are Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, and Summit Air.

Visit the Airlines' Offices:

Proceed to respective airline offices or its authorized agents in Kathmandu. Such offices are usually in Thamel, the center of tourism in Kathmandu. You can ask about tickets and make a booking here.

Ensure Timely Arrival:

To get a successful flight from Tribhuvan International Airport to Lukla, it is important to plan ahead as it depends on the weather. Usually, flights leave early in the morning.

Be Prepared for Cancellations and Delays:

Flights to Lukla are often cancelled or delayed because of the mountain weather that is difficult to predict. It is important to be flexible when making travel plans, and it is advisable to include some extra days during which you can fly if you miss out on your first flight.

Stay Informed:

Ensure that you constantly communicate with your airline or travel agent if there are weather changes. Adverse weather makes some Lukla Airport trips susceptible to delays or cancellation since the airport's short runway and challenging terrain have already posed some issues in many flight trips.

Consider Alternative Transportation:

If extended delays and cancellations occur, use other means like helicopters or trekking. Helicopter-based transport is less constrained by weather, but it's more expensive.

Book a Flexible Itinerary:

Whenever you plan your Everest trek, create flexibility in your itinerary to cater for flight disturbances. This means that you will not have to lose trekking days in case of any delays.

What is The Best Time to Book a Lukla Flight To Avoid Cancellations?

One of the best times to book a Lukla flight to avoid cancellations is after mid-April. March to May and September to Nov are trekking seasons in Nepal.

As per our recent observation and experience during autumn, there are fewer crowds in September, but we can get direct flights from Kathmandu to Lukla only before September 25. After that, most flights are operated from Ramechhap. Booking a Lukla flight from October 15 is advisable because the first and the second weeks are extremely busy this month. 

During the first and second week of October and the first two weeks of April, more than 600 to 900 persons arrive at Lukla daily, according to Khumbu Pasang Rural municipality. One can imagine the massive crowd just by looking at the number.

The first week of Spring is very busy as it is the time that the expedition team leaves for the summit. To this effect, there are more Lukla flights because they take their relatives and close friends to Everest Base Camp and wish them luck as they embark on the expedition. 

Why can’t we fly from Kathmandu to Lukla directly during peak season?

Flight to Lukla usually originates from Kathmandu Airport and Ramechhap Airport. From September 25, we will be flying from Ramechhap to Lukla. Around 700 to 900 people fly to Lukla on an average day during the first and second week of October.

In a round trip from Kathmandu to Lukla, the minimum time will be at least 3 hours. What's more, Kathmandu is a busy air transport destination, making a return trip over three hours. As a result, they can't carry more than half of the people to Lukla. 

Aircraft are hardly available during peak season; thus, flying straight from Kathmandu to Lukla is impossible. Lukla has a small airfield that is not well developed. Therefore, a few airplanes can carry up to seventeen people each, but flights operate only in favorable weather conditions during daytime hours. As such, direct flights between Kathmandu and Lukla are not possible.

However, flying out from Ramechhap airport, we have a 45 – 50 minute round trip from Ramechhap to Lukla at maximum. Since the flight route is short enough, we can move travelers to Lukla Airport. Lukla has a single flight that connects it to Ramechhap Airport only. It sometimes has a Kathmandu flight.

Is The Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla Dangerous?

No, the flight from Lukla is not so dangerous. 

About 30 flights fly in and out daily during the season, and at least 400-500 tourists go in and out. More than 30,000 trekkers and climbers go to the Everest region every year. In addition, the airport has increased other measures to avoid any accidents. However, it's more dangerous statistically than a typical commercial airport, but it is still pretty safe.

Only bad weather landing is prohibited. The runway at Lukla Airport has been equipped with an approach light system. Despite the few incidents, the Lukla airport has a low accident ratio, making it a relatively safe place to fly. Finally, the pilots who operate Lukla flights are said to be the best.

Lukla Flight Accident records:

More than 30 passengers and crew died in 11 accidental air crashes on Lukla flight after Lukla airport establishment. The most tragic incident happened on 8 October 2008 as an aircraft of Yeti Airlines crashed on final approach, killing all eighteen passengers and crew. 

As a result of bad weather and heavy fog, the aircraft entered too low and crashed short of the runway. After this accident, additional safety measures have been implemented at the airport. The latest was on 14 April 2009, when a Summit Air Let L-140 Turbo. Let aircraft without any passengers flew to the right side of the way and collided with a stationary helicopter during takeoff. A police officer standing near a parked helicopter and an officer on board the flight also died.

Pilots flying to Lukla Airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal puts a high demand on pilots entering Lukla. This is because of the airport's short runway, confined terrain, and a sheer drop of 2000ft at the runway's approach. Pilots should possess a minimum of 100 STOL sorties, have flying experience of more than a single year in STOL areas in Nepal, and make a minimum of 10 Lukla approaches with a certificated IP. Pilots in Lukla are highly experienced.

Lukla Flight Aircraft types:

Lukla is a small terminal that only offers STOL landing space. There are three operating airlines as well as sporadic flights of Nepal Airlines. Aircrafts such as Twin Otter, Dornier, L-410 turbolet, and Pilatus Turbo Porter are used in the Lukla Sector. The most crowded helipad in Nepal is found at Lukla Airport, which runs tourism, passenger, and rescue flights. Helicopters are available at Lukla airport during the peak tourist season for emergencies.

How Adventure Altitude Treks Can Help You After Lukla Flight Cancellations?

Adventure Altitude Treks knows about the risks or uncertainties, especially concerning Lukla's flight cancellation. Whether you plan to trek in the Everest region with us, we always provide these alternatives to make your travel smooth and enjoyable.

As an alternative for people not reserved with us, we offer a Kathmandu to Lukla helicopter ride that guarantees the fastest way to reach Lukla. 

We also provide some other land routes, either from Jiri or Phaplu, which are cheap as well. Adventure Altitude Trek is way beyond sheer fun; it guarantees comfort and security. 

As we understand, your Lukla flight should be protected for you initially. This is why you should find yourself in one of the first two groups of flights made for this purpose. 

This can allow you to catch an early flight if you make an earlier booking and send in your passport information as soon as possible.

However, if you are going with Adventure Altitude Treks, we will cover that for you in Lukla. We will fly you in case you cannot get from Kathmandu to Lukla at the moment so that we guarantee a smooth trip. Since Lukla flights normally take off in the early morning hours, we must get up roughly five or six hours prior.

We have your back in case of flight cancellations due to harsh weather conditions. Should your trek have a flight to Lukla, then it's wise to add some more days in Nepal for you to have extra time. They cannot be avoided since weather-related flight cancellations into Lukla normally happen in the off-season months, such as late spring and early autumn.

In case of a flight cancellation, we shall reschedule your ticket. Nevertheless, it prioritises those originally listed for that particular day. They should give way to passengers whose flights were cancelled in an earlier exercise. 

We will also help you book your stay in Maithili and Lukla upon request. Adventure Altitude Treks puts your comfort and security first.

Final Say

Every traveller in the domain of Everest adventures faces uncertainties caused by Lukla flight cancellations. It takes good planning and enough flexibility to deal with it. 

Despite Hillary Airport's infamous notoriety, Everest's attraction is indisputable, usually resulting in a cancellation or two, particularly amidst busy periods.

Luckily, there are many best alternatives for people who have found themselves stuck in Kathmandu due to cancelled flights to Lukla. For example: 

  • The fastest mode of transportation is a helicopter Flight to Lukla.
  • Going uphill from Phaplu or by road from Jiri, tasting the old-fashioned route that has been travelled in search of the trail.
  • Ramechhap Airport is one such option that offers another reliable route with more daily flights.
Rohit Subedi

Rohit Subedi

Hailing from the scenic expanse of Chitwan in Parsa, nestled adjacent to the enchanting Chitwan National Park, Mr. Rohit Subedi graces Adventure Altitude Treks as a seasoned Senior Accountant. Since his induction in 2018, immediately following the attainment of his master's degree, Rohit's journey has been marked by excellence. Elevating his role, our company entrusted him with the mantle of Tour Coordinator, specializing in crafting unparalleled journeys across Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan.