Lukla Aiport is a STOL airport (Short Take-off and Landing). STOLports can only accept certain types of aircraft, often only smaller propeller aircraft, often with limits on the amount of fuel that can be taken.
There is no fixed departure time on these routes really - it depends on the weather. Planes fly as early as possible.
Delayed in Kathmandu:
If bad weather prevents your group from taking the flight to Lukla, Everest Marathon team will assist you to bring you back to hotel in Kathmandu. It may not be the usual Event hotel - as we cant pre book these nights, it will be where we can find availability. Beware that this could be lesser standard than Hotel Shanker and it could be outside of town. Everest Marathon will continue providing you and your group meals while still in Kathmandu.
Please liaise with your team leader to try to find out when your rescheduled flight will leave.
Sometimes it is possible to fly to Lukla by helicopter even when planes do not fly. If your group wants this option, THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY! This may or may not be covered by your insurance - please check with them before leaving.
It is Everest Marathon policy to try for a flight for 2 days each otherwise we will have to drive to Jiri - stay overnight and fly from helicopter (Or use alternative solutions).
If you are delayed by 1 or 2 days but make it up to Lukla, you will obviously have to adapt the itinerary. Note that you should never sacrifice days on the ascent. It may be necessary to have less time at high camps eg. Khumjung and Gorak Shep. Our itinerary are made in such a way that even 2/3 lost days can be covered.
Delayed in Lukla:
We have noticed participants seem to get a bit stressed when it becomes apparent their Lukla flight may be delayed - your group leader will update you on all where communication is needed.
Everest Marthon has the fail-safe of 2 days to get back to KTM from Lukla built in to the schedule. If it seems that you may not be able to make it back in time to catch your international flight then you must make following clear:
1) Everest Marathon will continue to cover cost of meals and accommodation in Lukla until package services would usually end – after that participants should pay by themselves and can claim on their insurance later. Please note that there will be no refunds for unused hotel nights in Kathmandu.
2) Option to return to KTM is offered but participants have to be clear that they will have to cover costs of the helicopter. Everest Marathon is not legally responsible to cover the cost. However we will refund you the cost of return flight Lukla-KTM. You can make an insurance claim on this for which we will assist you with a letter from our company. Payment is not guaranteed as it depends on your insurance company.
3) Leader's cost will be beared by Everest Marathon
4) If participants are not happy flying out in a helicopter, then they should wait in Lukla for next available flight. Everest Marathon will assist you to make arrangements to fly home at a later date, but will not cover for this. Please liaise with your team leader.
Management will do its best to come up with the best and most cost effective solution based on groups (decisions which benefit the group as a whole).
Key thing to remember is there is always a problem of how much it costs to evacuate people and change flights - please do keep these things in mind and do not panic.
It is advisable to carry extra cash for these kind of situations as a safety.
Always book your international flight for departure after the final package date.
One way helicopter flight will cost approximately USD $ 500 per person if the helicopter is full. A helicopter has room for 5 people.