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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Incident flying to Kathmandu

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Who can hear the name of this city without thinking of Bob Seger? Strange place to choose for a song. Kathmandu, the launching point for many Mt Everest expeditions. City with the Himalayas as a back drop.

I didn't realize it at the time but this is one of the most dangerous places into which to fly. Between suspect airlines and tricky approaches to the runway, accidents happen. I'm glad I found out later!

Flying into the city against the Himalayas backdrop. Hard to tell snowcapped mountains from clouds!

My flight to the city was not without incident. The front section of the plane was empty. Probably the first 10 rows or so. This was the "premium " section of the plane and commanded a surcharge to fly there. This was not an airline I could use points to fly so I paid the lower fare for the economy section, but I was in the first row of the section. Nobody sat in the premium section so they all were as cheap as me.

A British traveler, with what I assumed was his granddaughter, were several rows behind me. The girl was a handful. She was very loud and it was obvious the man had difficulties controlling her.

The flight proceeded and the girl became more out of control with the yelling and leaving her seat. I would judge her about 4 years old.

Finally she migrated up to the empty premium section of the plane to use as her playground. The man finally came to the section for the purpose, I supposed, to retrieve her. But instead he just stood and watched.

The girl was jumping from seat to seat. She even jumped across the aisles to the seats. All while flying near the Himalayas where turbulence can be unpredictable.

I thought the man would let her get it out of her system after a minute or two and reel her in. But no! He just stood there and smiled as she played!

I then thought the flight attendants would stop this madness. But I never saw them. They were tucked away behind the curtains either oblivious or willfully negligent of their duties.

As I said, I was in the first row prior to this section so I had a front row seat. Not only was this annoying and disturbing to watch, it was simply unsafe for this child. If we were in the USA I probably would have called child services after landing.

I tolerated this for awhile but I have limits. If you read my post on the Manila incident (

you know I'm not shy when it comes to confrontation. I prefer not, but if it's going to be done by somebody on that plane it likely would be me.

I was mostly infuriated with the flight attendants. They had a job they were neglecting. I charged past the man and the girl and opened the curtain. The two lady attendants were talking and laughing which further stoked my ire.

I spoke up, "Do you know there's a small girl out there jumping from seat to seat across the aisle? Do you know that your primary responsibility on a flight is the safety of the passengers?" (I threw that last part in because the flight attendants are always quick to announce that at the start of a flight. I think they do it so you won't bother them with a lot of requests).

They both stood alarmed at my posture. Really they had no recourse. It was clearly a safety issue and they were responsible. So without a word they both finally came from their hiding and into the cabin.

I walked back past the man glaring him down. The flight attendants informed him to return the girl to her seat and fasten her seatbelt. Resigned, he gathered the girl and walked back.

As he passed me I was still staring. He spoke first, "What am I supposed to do"? Well I've heard that line before from Manila man in the referenced post. But this guy was not confrontational. Quite the opposite. He was a big pushover and the little girl took advantage because she could,

I forcefully responded to his question, "Act like a parent!" I mean really. He didn't know what to do in the circumstance?

There's always some incident on planes but this was over the top for me. Was I wrong? Should I just shut up (as one flight attendant told me once, but that's a different story).

Anyway the flight proceeded without incident and we all landed safely. I'll share some pictures of the flight into Kathmandu:

Kathmandu as we approach

A short video of the Himalayas as we fly by:

Not great pictures but the best I could do on a cloudy day.

P.S. Last night I heard the Bob Seger song "Kathmandu" on the radio. When it was over the radio DJ came on and said he interviewed Seger about the song. Turns out Bob never even went to Kathmandu!

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