• Modified on Mar 5, 2024

Lukla is a small Sherpa settlement at an elevation of 2,800 meters from which many trekkers embark on their journey to the Everest region including the popular trekking destination - Everest Base Camp Trek. With so many hotels, stores, and rental options for trekking equipment, Lukla is quickly becoming a popular destination and also the gateway of might Mt. Everest. During the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, you may see 18 of the world's tallest peaks, including four over 8,000 meters in height (subject to clear weather). Taking the Trans-Himalayan route from Kathmandu to Lukla is a quick and scenic 30-minute flight. When it comes to dangerous airports with exceptionally short take-off and landing strips, Lukla airport is a strong contender.

Aeroplane standing on Lukla airport and "24" written in the runway

In 1964, the Lukla Airport was constructed. Sir Edmund Hillary oversaw the construction, and the airport runway wasn't even paved adequately until just a few years ago, in 2001. There are mountains and hilly terrain all around the airport. There is a wall at one end and a sharp drop into the valley below at the other. At 1,729 feet, the airport runway is disproportionately short. While the plane is in flight, the weather in Lukla frequently varies significantly from that in Kathmandu. Twin otters turn around and head back to Kathmandu in such circumstances. Since most flights are planned for the early morning and afternoons are so frequently gloomy, cancellations from Lukla are typical.

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Which airlines operate for Kathmandu-Lukla flights?

The top domestic airlines in Nepal, including daily (Kathmandu - Lukla) and (Lukla-Kathmandu) flights, include Tara Airlines, Sita Airlines, and Summit Airlines. Despite the risky flight routes and treacherous runways in Lukla, these airlines have excellent safety records.

Kathmandu to Lukla flight time

From Kathmandu, an aircraft scenic flight takes 30-35 minutes to get to Lukla. Normally, every flight is scheduled in the morning because the morning offers you perfect weather and clear views of the mountains. During the afternoon the weather gets wild and unpredictable which makes it too difficult to take off and land. 

Kathmandu-Lukla flight cost

The fare of a flight to Lukla is entirely dependent on the passengers' passports. The cost of the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla one way is around RS 10,000 for citizens of Nepal, around 11250 INR for Indian Nationals, and around 217 USD for the rest of the nationalities. These above-mentioned prices may change according to the high season and low season. Therefore, it is challenging to give a clear response about the cost of a flight to Lukla.

We can provide you with the finest flight at the greatest price because of our robust networks with many domestic airlines in Nepal. Since Lukla is one of Nepal's busiest tourist destinations, we advise you to book your flight at least three months ago for the peak season and 10 days ago for the low season. This will make sure that you'll get the earliest flight for the Lukla which is generally considered as the smoothest flight time for Lukla. 

Flight delays and cancellations in Lukla

Domestic flights in Nepal, especially those to Lukla and other mountain regions flights are more likely to be canceled and delayed due to the country's challenging mountainous terrain. Traveling in the ideal trekking seasons—spring and autumn—when the weather is dry, clear, and stable—is what we advise. Flight cancellations and delays are quite uncommon during these times. Flight delays and cancellations are more likely during the monsoon and winter seasons because of the dense fog, strong winds, rain, patchy clouds, and other unpleasant circumstances they bring. We advise anyone traveling to Nepal to plan one or two extra days in case their flights are rescheduled or canceled.

aeroplane in runway in mountain

Ramechhap Airport (alternative to Kathmandu Airport)

A district called Ramechhap is located 146 kilometers from Kathmandu. Normally, airlines operate their daily flights to the Manthali (headquarters of Ramechhap) airport when a trip to Lukla from Kathmandu won't seem feasible. In the Ramechhap District, Bagmati Province, Manthali Municipality is home to Ramechhap Airport. It is situated along the Tamakoshi River's bank. Manthali, the district headquarters, is a short distance from the airport. The majority of flights are operated from this airport during the tourist season to Lukla and Phaplu Airport. Trekkers must travel 4 hours from Kathmandu to Ramechhap Airport for most of the year to catch a flight to the Everest region. You can reach Ramechhap via bus, jeep, or private car from Kathmandu. Normally, from October to November flights from Manthali to Lukla operate rapidly. Likewise, during the spring season April to May, they operate flights from Manthali to Lukla. The flight from Ramechhap to Lukla just lasts 15 minutes.

The advantage of taking a flight out of Ramechhap airport is that it only serves aircraft to Lukla, thus there is no possibility of delays or cancellations brought on by air traffic. Because there are more regular flights and shorter flight times, even in the event of terrible weather in Lukla, the backlogs are cleared quite fast. Though you can’t get proper facilities like in Kathmandu and you have to be prepared for that. 

What is the provision for baggage limits and luggage delays at Lukla?

You are allowed to check 10 kg baggage along with a 5 kg handbag on domestic airlines. The airline will charge you a small fee per kilogram if you want to carry more than 10 kg. Airlines have different fees for additional luggage. Ten kilograms of luggage and five kilograms of hand luggage may be sufficient to carry all the gear and supplies needed for an Everest trek or ascent.

Although it is uncommon, the airline can delay or move your luggage to another flight. Making sure you have all of your valuables and anything you might need right away, such as prescription medication, in your carry-on is crucial. We cannot control airport delays or lost bags, but we will make every effort to get your equipment to you on the trail.

Helicopters flying to Lukla

Helicopters can typically make the flight to Lukla even when weather or visibility is too poor for a small plane. If you want to change your flight to a helicopter, you might be able to, but it will be pricey and there's no assurance you'll leave on time. You may count on us to help you coordinate with the helicopter service and to reimburse you for the cost of your plane ticket once you've arrived back in Kathmandu if you choose this option. When it comes to getting our clients to their destinations quickly and easily, we work closely with both airlines and helicopter firms.

reflection of people about to enter a helicopter in queue seen in water

How much does a Heli/chopper cost to reach Lukla?

A helicopter, though, will cost you an additional 600 USD approximately per person on a sharing basis. If you want to book a helicopter on a full basis it may cost you 3,000 USD to reach Lukla or back to Kathmandu. Helicopter prices are typically higher during peak times. Therefore, the cost of renting a helicopter will peak on days when everyone needs one, and drop on days with good weather and regular flying schedules. Our Kathmandu office can't always guarantee that the prices we quote will be the same as those you'll find up on the mountain. It may be worthwhile to inquire at the Lukla office if you have time to kill while waiting for your flight back to Kathmandu. Since airlines never seem to fill every seat on every flight, rates are always fluctuating to maximize revenue.

Will travel insurance cover delayed flights to Lukla?

Some policies can pay you for missed international connections or additional travel expenses if you experience a "trip delay" as a result of a flight that was postponed or canceled. This type of disruption can occur when a flight is rescheduled or canceled. If you need to file a claim with your insurance company, Footprint Adventure can provide the necessary documentation for you. Before you travel to Nepal, you should get in touch with your insurance provider to find out the specifics of the coverage they provide for international travel. 

What are other alternatives in case of Lukla's flight cancellation?

The ideal course of action is to simply add extra days to your itinerary and wait for the weather to clear up, but if you get stranded in Lukla, you will likely find yourself in a position where you have to look at other choices.

Hike from Salleri/Phaplu

Salleri/Phaplu is the lower part of the Solukhumbu district. From Kathmandu, it will take around 10 hours of long drive. After that, another 7-8 hours of off-road drive will take you to the Kharikhola, and from Kharikhola, you can start trekking towards the Lukla. These options will add another 3-4 days extra in your regular Everest base camp trekking itinearray. We have an itinearray of EBC Trek from Salleri/Phaplu as well. This trail is often called the classical Everest base camp trek. 

Trekking from Jiri

The journey to Everest Base Camp can be started on foot from Jiri, saving you the cost and hassle of flying to Lukla. Before Sir Edmund Hillary oversaw the construction of the airport in 1964, his expedition had to take this route, which was the only route available. This route begins with a lengthy bus journey from Kathmandu and continues with around five days of pretty tough trekking through the rural and mountainous villages of rural Nepal on the approach on foot. 

Helicopter to Phaplu

Because of the scarcity of helicopters, visitors may only be able to get as far as Phaplu, a small airstrip down in the valley near Salleri. From Phaplu, we can arrange a jeep ride for you to Kathmandu. This trip could take anywhere from 10-14 hours of driving time over rocky terrain. Waiting an extra day at Lukla for the weather to clear could be a good idea if you have some wiggle room in your Nepal itinerary.

four men standing in-front of a red color helicopter

Helicopter to Surke

Surkhe is only a small settlement located below Lukla, but due to the improved visibility, it is sometimes used as a landing spot for helicopters. From Surkhe, Lukla may be reached by foot in roughly two hours or you can directly proceed towards the Phakding as well via Chaurikharka.

In the event of poor weather, reaching Lukla may be a relatively straightforward endeavor, or it may turn into a stressful ordeal lasting several days longer than expected. In either case, we will do everything in our ability to make the trip go as smoothly as possible. You may be certain of numerous things if you are considering going on the journey with Footprint Adventure or if you have already booked your trip with us.

  • The airport in Kathmandu is within easy reach of our office there, and if there is a delay in your trip, we will have someone there to see that your needs are met and that you are kept as informed as possible.
  • Before you even get here, we'll try to get you on one of the first or second flights to Lukla. You have a better chance of getting an early flight if you book and give us your passport in advance.
  • You may count on us to rebook your flight before independent hikers or tour groups. This is why it's crucial to go with a reputable travel agency that can provide the help you require. Contact us for more information.
Abhishek Dhital

Abhishek Dhital

Abhishek Dhital relishes observing the customs and cultures of many regions of Nepal as a travel photographer, blogger, and certified trekking guide. He is a native of Dang, a stunning region in western Nepal. He was raised in the Inner Terai and has always loved to climb up to his hometown's highlands. He moved to Kathmandu after completing his schooling, where he received a bachelor's degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Nepal College of Travel and Tourism Management, Lazimpat. He stated, "When I began studying tourism, I became really attracted to its service approach and made the decision to become a professional tour guide and travel writer.

In 2015, he began his photographic journey. He gradually began traveling and shooting genuine grins and experiences. He is now discovering fresh and original techniques to market Nepal and give his clients first-rated service in the mountains.

He declared, "I am really happy to be a member of Footprint Adventure as I can develop my career in a booming tourism industry where I may get the chance to perform well and prove my abilities accepting challenges and pressures completing the organizational goal." He genuinely believes in the power of nature, and he thinks it can change people's outlooks and lead them to discover their life's purpose.