I recently flew Etihad’s First Class Apartment (at the old 90K AAdvantage redemption price) from JFK to Kathmandu, Nepa (KTM). I’ll have a full trip-report on that amazing flight as well as my stay at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu soon, but first I want to share quite the experience I had at the domestic terminal of Kathmandu when flying to the beautiful Pokhara (PKR) countryside on local carrier Buddha Air.
Like most airports in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and many other places in the region, you must have a printed flight itinerary to even enter the airport and your bags will be scanned before you’re allowed to reach the airport desks.
The airport counters are “cute”, no digital displays at all…
You cannot approach the desk until about 45 minutes before your flight. At that time, they review your itinerary and manually process your boarding pass! We are talking NO name on the actual pass itself, a written in flight number, a stamped date…and then the seat number is a sticker that’s attached to the pass from a sheet of stickers with all available seats on the plane (an ATR).
…and even though they accept luggage and check your bag, you have to love the “luggage tag” that they give you. It’s called a baggage identification tag, and it states that “this is not the luggage ticket (baggage check) as described in the Warsaw Convention “, so basically they are not responsible if your bag is lost or contents are missing, because it wasn’t actually checked!
On to the departure gate, this is where it get’s fun!
There’s a strange poorly lit intermediary area before you hit security…
Then it’s time for security check, except there are no metal detectors at all! You see those curtains? The two on the left are for men and the two on the right are for women. They close the curtains, do a very light and fast pat-down, and then you’re cleared to walk through to the boarding area. Yes, no name at all on the boarding pass and no passing through a metal detector. The agents do have wands available if needed, but I never saw them use them. That’s it, security cleared…wow we aren’t in the US anymore!
The boarding gate area reminded me of a few bus stations I had visited in India. There was a phone for free local calls and a guarded VIP room (real VIPs, no AmEx or PriorityPass entry hah)!
Oh, and then there’s the “baggage claim” at Pokhara, those identification tags are matched before you are handed your bag. The process worked great here…but was horrible on the return at Katmandu (KTM).