Anyone who has used Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport knows that while functional, it isn’t going to be winning any awards for beauty, service or facilities any time soon.
On top of this, because of its location, it’s a notoriously difficult airport for pilots to land at. All of which makes flying Etihad to and from here a more reassuring experience than normal.
After battling through the large crowds waiting to get into the airport, check-in for my flight to Abu Dhabi begins three hours before departure.
Luggage is weighed on rather old-fashioned scales and then I proceed upstairs to the equally tired-looking immigration desks, beyond which is an uninspiring selection of shops and cafes. The Radisson Executive lounge is by no means luxurious, but it seems the best there is. Conveniently there are bathrooms inside.
My flight is delayed by about an hour and I can see from the FlightRadar24 app this is at least partially due to congestion at the airport – as I can see the incoming Etihad flight circling for some time before landing.
The Airbus A320 has 16 seats in business class, in a two-two formation. Unfortunately because it’s short-haul, the seats don’t lie flat. I’m sitting by the window in the front row, which has extra legroom. Because the flight isn’t full, the cabin attendant helpfully suggests that the man sitting next to me relocate to the back row, so I have more space. More info