Saturday, February 11, 2012

From Kathmandu, Nepal to Las Vegas, USA: the flight experience

(This post is really a kind of draft. I am not good at writing concise articles covering whole lot of things in short time and I don't have time to write multiple posts for the experience sharing or to write it with better flow.)

And finally, after a long wait it was time to fly: from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. The dream of studying abroad was becoming true: from test and university search to I-20 and visa, all the processing was completed and I was ready learn more about international flights.

Due to some circumstances I was in hurry to take earliest possible flight and I had very less time for shopping and party and learning more about international flight. It was my first international flight and I didn't know much about how things works there. But nothing was that hard and even illiterates were able to fly abroad, so why shouldn't I? Yet one might have doubts about the process involved in the international flight. So I am here to share some of the things that I think might be useful to first time international travelers via air.

Step one is definitely booking air tickets and guess what you don't need to pay for booking tickets. There are number of travel agents that are eager to help you, the one I used was Ace Travels and reason for trying them out was their huge advertisement effort they were making: especially online advertising. They have dedicated site with quick response for emails and also a toll free number. No more advertisement, they do their job fine and they do not necessarily provide cheapest tickets. So if you have any of your friends or relatives they might be able to provide you cheaper tickets with proper route and transit hours. Remember traveling with at least one transit point means there might be more than one route available and price varies from one route to another and that's the main reason of varying price. Also while buying tickets make sure that you have at least about 3 hours of transit time in all the transit. Again having excess of transit time is not desirable either.

Now its flight time and here is my little experience about my flight.

My flight was from Kathmandu, Nepal to Bangkok, Thailand then to Seoul, Korea and finally to the Las Vegas, USA. Among all the international airports I have been to, no doubt the one at Nepal was worst: very small, not well managed, dirty and old. Rest of the world seems to use state of art technology in the airport and their airport seems to be indicative of their development. All those airport were mega structures with mind blowing designs and unique.

By the are you guys aware of the fact that one can use their electronic devices in the plane except during take off and landing time? In domestic flights I always interpreted air teams message as we shouldn't turn on any electronic equipment at any time in the flight, not even in airplane/offline mode (for mobile phones) although I always thought using those devices in airplane/offline mode should be fine.

One thing I notice during the flight is that one is likely to see persons/passengers with laptops and tablets and mobiles in their hands and palms and if you don't have one then you might have hard time spending time at transit if the transit time is long.

Guess what the dust bin or trans bin or whatever it is called is unbelievably clean, maybe cleaner that your water pot :).

The foremost thing you have to remember about transit is that you will have to search for your gate corresponding to your flight and you might want to get seat at window if its already not decided. Gates are mentioned in the displays kept at airport. Make sure to reach to the gate by time or else you might miss the next flight and might have to talk to the airlines to arrange seat in next flight.

Now lets talk a little about plane. Hmm! Definitely it is bigger, a lot bigger than ones that I have already used for domestic flights. The flight duration is longer and the food and drinks provided in the flight is better. And I am sure that you know those services are free or say the charges are already included in the price of the tickets.

Some of those planes might have interactive infotainment devices in each seat and some might have only one big display per cabinet (especially in economic cabinets). Those in flight infotainment system may have latest movies and video games and flight info detail and even destination details. So take full use of those systems.

And guess what you might suffer from jet lag if your flight is longer. It was first time that I had travelled to places with time zone difference of about 10 hours, you never know if its gonna be a morning or evening in your destination. You might start flying at 10 in the morning and reach at 10 in the morning, don't calculate the duration without considering difference in time zone. And remember the time written in your ticket are local time.

There are shops in the airport and those are called duty free shops, you don't need to pay tax if you are buying something from such places. But remember things might actually be a lot more expensive in those shops. If you want to buy a bottle of water or soda or a packet of biscuit, it might be really expensive. So you might carry some food with you while traveling but there might be rules that don't allow you to carry food and stuffs.

Just in case your transit time is long, you might want to ask if you can travel outside the airport. I did went in a 3 hour tour at Seoul airport ($10), it might be a once in a life time opportunity to visit the transit country, so why miss it?

With that said, I am ending this rough post. I am sure its jerky but is does have some useful infos.

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