July 10, 2016

Review: Yeti Airlines Everest Express

Trip to Kathmandu flying on Etihad A380 First Apartment and Qatar Airways A380 First Class

Last month, Mike and I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time to meet our travel partner Helena, owner of Helena India Travels. We are sending our first group to Nepal in autumn and it was a great opportunity to meet her as well as the owners of the hotels where our group would be staying at. We were offered complimentary five nights stay by Mingma, the Nepalese owner of Chhahari Retreat and needless to say, we enjoyed every single day of our stay not only because of the nice room and excellent food in the restaurant but moreso because each one of them treated us like their own family. As for our flight, Mike and I used our remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person. Here's the full trip report of our trip to Nepal and I hope that thru this, more people would consider traveling to this wonderful country in the future!



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Review: Yeti Airlines Everest Express
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View of Mount Everest aboard Yeti Airlines

Flight: NYT 302
Departure time in Kathmandu: 6:30 (actual 7:00)
Aircraft: Jetstream 41
Seat: 10A
Duration: 1h
Date of flight: May 29, 2016

Check in

We arrived at the newly renovated Kathmandu Domestic Terminal around 6am for our 6:30am departure. Actually, the area where the check-in desks are located was the only new part since the area where the boarding gates are were still old. Check in went smoothly with only a few passengers ahead of us and after a few minutes, a friendly agent was handing us our boarding pass and the picture of the Himalayas.

Yeti Airlines boarding pass and picture of the Himalayas

Picture of the Himalayas as seen from the aircraft

At the back of my boarding pass was the slogan "Flying is not the only thing we do" which says that Yeti Airlines donates Nrs. 4 per flight ticket to the four organizations involved in various social activities. This is such a great idea so kudos to Yeti Airlines for this!

While waiting for our boarding, I caught sight of this aircraft although I was not able to check which airlines it belongs to. Around 6:30, we approached the agent at the boarding gate and asked which gate our flight was departing from as it was not displayed on the screen. She informed us that it was delayed and a few minutes later, the updated information was shown on the screen. It was actually raining a bit so we were hoping and "praying" that it would just be 30 minutes delayed and not totally cancelled.

Departures screen showing our flight was delayed and moved to the 7am departure.

After moments of anxiety, at around 7am, the passengers were finally asked to approach the gate for boarding. Yipee!

Boarding

Taking the bus to the aircraft.

Two Yeti Airlines aircrafts on a rainy Sunday morning

And there she is, our ride to see the world's highest peak!

Cabin

A pair seat on the right side of the cabin.

The 1-2 configuration from rows 1-10 offers a total of 30 seats but I was told by Ankita, the friendly flight attendant from Nepal that 15 passengers is the maximum because she would need to guide each one of us to the cockpit later (for viewing) and that having more than 15 would be very difficult. Also, this assures that all the passengers have window seats which is a very good thing.

My seat 10A on the left side of the cabin.

As soon as we were airborne, Ankita started offering some candies. She is such a very nice lady and I could tell that she loves her job. I later found out (after interviewing her) that she has been working 5 years now. She also informed me that we were cruising at an altitude of 23,000 feet which is the altitude they normally have.

As soon as the view got clearer, we were able to see the Himalayas and Ankita started pointing some of the most prominent mountains to each of the passengers. I was not particularly interested to the "other mountains" though, as all I was very eager to see was Mount Everest. Of course, for a first timer, it was also very difficult to remember all the things she said so I just focused on Mount Everest.

There she is, the world's highest peak, Mount Everest!

A video I took flying over the Himalayas and seeing Mount Everest aboard Yeti Airlines

View of the Himalayas

I just could not describe the feeling when I saw Mount Everest from my seat. I was just so ecstatic! To the right of Mount Everest is Mount Lhotse.

I guess everybody were just so happy that after a 30 minute delay, we are now gazing at Mount Everest. We actually had two nuns seated at 8C and 9A so Mike joked about us being "very safe". There was also a little girl around 5 years old. Lucky her!

Then it was my turn to go to the cockpit and see Mount Everest from the captain's perspective.

The cockpit

I was the last one to go to the cockpit and after that, the aircraft was on its way back to the airport so I took one last shot to say goodbye to the world's highest peak.

Needless to say, seeing Mount Everest for the first time called for a celebration and there's no better way to celebrate it than drinking a glass of champagne. There was actually a choice of apple juice or champagne and of course, I chose the latter.

View of the cabin as Ankita offered some champagne and apple juice.

And before landing, Ankita started distributing our certificates with the name left blank so we could write our own names later. Around 8am, we were back at Kathmandu Domestic Terminal and couldn't wait to tell our stories to Helena who was waiting for us.

CONCLUSION

The truth is Michael and I did not actually plan to take this flight before coming to Nepal. It was not until Helena mentioned to us about the chance of seeing Mount Everest through Yeti Airlines during our first dinner that we decided that we would take the trip. So after talking with Mingman owner of Chhahari Resort, he quickly contacted his staff who booked us for the Sunday flight so that in case the flight gets cancelled due to bad weather, we could still take the flight the following day. Mingman insisted that we do not pay for the flight but the fare on Yeti's website showed 199 US dollars. Thank you so much, Mingman! I think that the price is reasonable considering that you get to see Mount Everest and the rest of the Himalayas, celebrate it with a glass of champagne and then get your own certificate. Of course, Ankita the flight attendant was such an amazing lady and lastly, the airline is also helping four social organizations by donating 4 Rupees on every ticket you buy. Overall, our flight on Yeti Airlines was an amazing flight and I would highly recommend taking this flight as it is a "once in a lifetime experience" and something you will remember for the rest of your life.


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