Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, the world’s most dangerous airport, is the stage for today’s events. A quick pack and breakfast preceded our hurry over to the “terminal.” The terminal building was a madhouse consisting of visitors waiting around while locals help to organize tickets, weigh and check bags, and shepherd the visitors through the metal detector into the waiting area.
Loading a plane at this airport is unlikely anything I have ever or seen. By the time we made it into the waiting area there was a lull in the plane where no planes were landing or taking off. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the whirlwind began.
When a plane lands on the inclined runway it immediately applies full power backwards to slow down and speeds into the waiting area. There people and bags are pulled off with military precision. A shout goes through the waiting area with the airline and flight number (Ours was Agni Air flight #1). Everyone on that flight would shoot out of their seats and out on the tarmac to line up while the current occupants finished getting off. Then the new passengers are thrown on with equal abandon and precision. Then the flight spins around and takes off down the extremely short runway.
To unload, reload, and take off took about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
Incredible and impossible for any other airport.
The flight itself was like a roller coaster ride. I was provided with 3 barf bags in my seat pocket and there was certainly no in-flight meal. We could see planes passing a few hundred meters from us and we ourselves would only pass a few hundred meters from the mountains below us at times.
While I’m glad to have experienced it, I’m glad to have experienced it just once. I certainly understand why it is considered the world’s most dangerous airport.