There and Back Again: Flying to and from Nepal

Remember how I said I had two airplane stories to share with you about my trip to and from Nepal? Here they are, a little overdue but no worse for the wear.


During college, I went to Nepal with my then-boyfriend to stay with his family for a month over Christmas break. To fly there, we first caught a plane to Washington, D.C. From there we flew to Dubai, where we would stay overnight. The next evening we would land in Kathmandu. Sounds like a simple, if long, plan, right?


And wrong.

This was my second international excursion (via plane), and I was anxious. Still am. Once I’m on the plane, it’s fine, but the stress of airports frays my nerves. That was especially true on this trip, but, luckily, I had my boyfriend there. He had plenty more experience with international travel than I did, so I followed his lead.

Our flight to D.C. was short and simple, and we boarded our flight to Dubai. It was about 13 or 14 hours long, if I recall, but I was prepared. My flight to Japan the previous year had been roughly 11 hours long. This time I would have my boyfriend to keep me company. We boarded the plane and found our seats.

That’s when things started to go wrong for me, though.

My boyfriend and I ended up giving our seats to a family with kids, so he and I got split apart. He ended up a few rows behind me in an aisle seat, and I was in the middle of the middle, right between two men. That was only a problem when I got too hot but couldn’t move around or when I needed to get up. I hate asking people to move, especially when they’re resting.

Things went along just fine, though. For the first half of the flight. Then, I don’t know what it was–the food, bits of turbulence, stress–but I started feeling sick. (Come to think of, I’ve since associated this experience with the food so that in-flight meals make me nervous and close to ill.)

I tried to get up a few times, and one of those times I stood by my boyfriend and told him how ill I felt. I was reluctant to return to my seat, but I eventually did, and I spent the rest of the flight worried that I would throw up at any second. When, towards the end, we hit a rough patch of turbulence, I nearly did.

At long last, the plane touched down in Dubai, and we heard the “Don’t get up while we’re heading to the gate” announcement.

I had to ignore it. I went to the bathroom and was sick. A flight attendant checked on me and gave me a huge bottle of water.

It felt like ages before we made it off the plane and into the airport, but we finally did, and I had never felt more relieved to see the inside of an airport than I was then.

Except I learned that we had to cross half of the airport to get to our hotel room. I wanted to cry, and I looked as awful as I felt, apparently, because my boyfriend commented on the lack of color in my face. Our guide led us at a brisk pace to the hotel, and I could barely keep up.

We had connected rooms, and the first thing I did when I reached mine was sit in the shower and cry. Not long afterward, I went to bed and slept the whole night. In the morning, I felt infinitely better and even enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.

(It’s not the best picture, I know, but it’s the only one of me in the hotel.)


On the flight into Kathmandu (though, it may have been on the flight from Kathmandu. My brain refuses to recall that for me), my boyfriend and I had a whole row of seats to ourselves, and we fell asleep cozied up together.


The trip home the next month was (thankfully) uneventful save one incident.

My boyfriend wanted to bring a tennis racket back so he could play tennis. (Novel concept, I know.) I went ahead through security, but when he followed, they said he couldn’t bring the racket as a carry-on. So he had to go back downstairs to the counter and have it checked in.

Only, the people there told him it could be carried on. So he went upstairs to security and tried again.

I don’t know how many times this happened–three or four, probably. All the while I’m waiting anxiously, worried that we’ll miss our flight or that I’ll be sent on in ahead of him, and he’ll not make it onto the plane at all.

Well, he did eventually board the plane, and I don’t remember how he got the tennis racket on, too, but he did. (I want to say they eventually let him carry it on, but I could be mistaken.)

After that, everything went smoothly. We weren’t split apart again, and I wasn’t sick. In fact, I haven’t been that sick ever again, and I hope I never will be.


So, those are my Nepal airplane stories, and I’m stickin’ to ’em. Have any of you had similarly awful experiences?



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