It isn’t all that bad at Kathmandu’s Tribuhvan Airport departing for my flight to Bangkok. Perhaps, being a Saturday and off-season, it just takes me less than 20 minutes from Thamel including the short and quick car cue to enter the airport premises.
The car parks at the international departures entrance and as soon as the car driver opens the trunk, a man with a push cart appears. “No, no,” I say looking at both him and the driver who smiles knowingly. I don’t need to pay someone to push my cart. Signs declare that the use of push carts is free. I see a push cart nearby, grab it, then rush back to the car. The man with a push cart leaves.
I check the lcd screen for the right entrance for Thai Airways and head to entrance B and take my place behind the short line outside. I show my passport and ticket to the guard who dutifully reads it. He returns my documents to me and signals me to enter. In front of me is a young woman with her two young boys, all teary-eyed as they have just bade their husband/father goodbye. Heart-breaking. I say a quick prayer for them then put my luggage at the x-ray machine. I find the counter for Thai Airways which had just opened.
Very short line. Once checked-in, I head up the escalator to Immigrations.
In spite of signs saying you must fill-up an embarkation card, there is no need. I look for these at the wooden counters by the wall and find none. “No card?”I ask a guy at a counter near where the cue starts. “No card ” he replies. Only then do I see a crude hand-written sign at the counter. The line is about 6 meters deep but moves quite quickly as two counters are servicing it.
I emerge to a waiting area and the lines for the final security check. It’s still early so I go grab a vegetarian burger and a Coke at one of the stalls.
The line to the security check is long. It’s a little strange as the tables where you put your stuff on trays is a few feet apart from the x-ray machine. So you need to carry your tray to the machine upon the guard’s signal. I clear security and I’m in at the boarding gates. My ticket doesn’t indicate my gate so I check the lcd screen at the corridor that leads to the gate. Only flights until 12 noon have gates indicated. I head to one of the boarding gates to wait. The place is swarming with people but I find a seat with a ground view of the tarmac.
The entire process from arriving at the airport to being seated where I am now takes an hour and a half. Not bad for one. of the world’s worst airports.