Kathmandu, Nepal, April 2019: The much anticipated trip to China begins today with a mid-morning flight from Kathmandu to Bangkok for a transit stop. Then it’s off to Hong Kong, essentially another transit stop while obtaining my 30 day China tourist visa. So, here’s how the story unfolds…
Flying Nepal Airlines: They don’t have a great reputation it has to be said, probably the reason then why they are the cheapest flight out of Kathmandu this April, especially since the demise of Air Asia’s service to Kuala Lumpur. I’m booked on the late morning flight to Bangkok serviced with an almost new aircraft – A European Airbus A320. Had they still been using their 37 year old Boeing 757, I probably wouldn’t have booked a ticket, even at half the price! £120 single to Bangkok booked in the UK via the Nepal Airlines website. Plain and simple with fare rules as flexible as was in the good old days of air travel when one could chop and change flights without penalty! No pick-a-seat facility or even ‘manage-my-booking’ options are available on-line so getting a window seat will be just pure luck.
Check-in at TIA (Tribhuvan International Airport) is old school style. Nepal still has some way to go before adopting the technological advances of developed nations where passengers can simply proceed through the formalities of checking in via smartphone or self-checking kiosk. Thankfully, the queues today are short – just 20 minutes to obtain ones boarding pass before stomping upstairs to the immigration desk and my stamp out of Nepal.
On board and on time to as the aircraft starts to move off the ramp at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. Nepal Airlines is a full service carrier – adequately wide seating with good leg room and later food. No window seat unfortunately, luck of the draw wasn’t with me today, but having an isle seat comes with the advantage of a little more leg room. Its a pretty short flight to Bangkok, just under 3 hours so the cabin crew waste no time in getting out the drinks before serving up the lunch. A very tasty lunch it is too – chicken curry and served with a smile. Landing at Bangkok’s suvarnabhumi Airport is 40 minutes ahead of schedule, about 4PM local time.
The Verdict: A pretty good, comfortable flight with attentive crew – the girls dressed in traditional sari’s and the guys dressed resembling pilots. No in-flight entertainment on this Airbus A320, not an issue for me personally. Overall, a very satisfactory flight to international standards, no complaints from me.