It is absolutely everyone’s dream to travel to Leh Ladakh! But, honestly, the road trip to Leh from any city remains the foremost priority, and the next preference is the Flight to Leh, correct?
Ditto, my choice remained a road trip to Leh.
Fortunately, a long weekend arrived in August. But Unfortunately, August being a peak monsoon season, brings plenty of hindrances to reaching Leh. Especially the landslides and roadblocks caused by rainfall.
Thus, a Flight to Leh would be my only choice—Aha, but unknowingly something unusual awaited ahead.
Excitement for the Flight
My Flight to Leh was at 4:05 a.m, and I was confident I would get a space to sleep at Delhi’s IGI Airport. Moreover, I preferred to arrive by around 11-12 noon; the previous day.
But, nothing much I know about Delhi’s Terminal T2. It was also the first time I was catching that early flight.
Furthermore, I was very excited to sleep in an airport; that first-time feeling you could understand.
Accordingly, my cousin and I left home around 10:00 p.m and took the Blue line metro to Dwarka sec 21. After that, the Airport express metro to IGI Airport station.
Kindly Note – The last metro leaves at 11:15 p.m on the Airport Express line, and the foremost leaves at 4:45 a.m.
We just managed to catch the Airport Express and reached the IGI Airport station at 11:30 p.m.
Reached the Wrong Terminals
We headed straight to the Terminals. But, as our turn came to show the ticket and ID cards, the police officer smiled. He smiled and asked where are you going? We replied Leh, and then he said it’s the wrong terminal. You have to go to Terminal T2, and it’s Terminal T3.
I sensed something wrong before because individuals standing ahead were showing passports, and it took a long time for the turn to come.
Nevertheless, we proceeded to Terminal T2, a 15-20 mins walk away.
As we reached, there was a pin drop silence outside, contrary to Terminal 3!
I was Mistaken
Whatever I had imagined before—a night of Sleep at the Airport, a different feeling—everything went the opposite.
Furthermore, It got challenging even to sit and sleep! Ha-Ha!
What to do “When You have an Early Morning Flight, and there’s no place to Sleep in the Airport”?
When you stay awake, you will undoubtedly feel hungry. So, the most suitable way would be to have something to consume.
Indeed, I never envisioned that I would be eating a complete meal at 1:30 a.m.
The time gradually proceeded, and the boarding started.
Delhi to Leh Flight
The boarding started early, and the Flight to Leh took off 20 minutes before the departure time.
Therefore, I presumed we would reach significantly early than expected.
But, a twist was about to happen.
As the flight reached closer to Leh, the Pilot informed:
- The airplane had to remain in the air and hover for about 30 mins due to the bad weather, and the Aircraft didn’t have enough petrol to sustain itself. So, the Pilot decided to return to Delhi.
I remained amazed, never heard of an experience—probably, a film-like scene.
Soon, the airplane reached Delhi, and a relative called to confirm whether we had landed or not—I verified we had landed, but in Delhi again!!
The Pilot arrived and described the issues faced while landing the Aircraft at Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport.
The primary concern was not the weather, honestly:
Indeed, less fuel can’t sustain the hovering Aircraft in the atmosphere for about 30 minutes.
Furthermore, the captain informed us that:
The Aircraft behind us coming from Mumbai had about 1 hr of extra fuel, so it sustained the plane in the air and landed successfully at the Leh airport.
With all the flyers’ best wishes and cheer, the Delhi to Leh Flight again took off after 40 mins.
As described, Flight to Leh from Delhi usually takes around 1hr 30 mins to reach, and this time, the flight captain briefed us regarding the places the Aircraft was passing-by.
I had an aisle seat. Therefore, I stood trying to peep through the window, but outside were the aircraft wings blocking the way to see through further.
So, I was limited to using my imagination!
Landed in Leh
Eventually, the Flight to Leh landed at 9:00 a.m, and the weather outside was sunny as I could see through the window.
I looked at the phone network. My other SIM, which was Airtel Postpaid SIM, was working.
Meanwhile, I received a call from the person who was supposed to pick me up, and he would be carrying a plaque card with my name written on it.
My cousin was not carrying a Postpaid SIM. So, his phone signals were dead for calling and data usage.
In addition, keep your Vaccine certificates handy with you, as the officials there surprised us to show the certifications.
After landing in Leh, you must use your first 48hrs effectively.
Not every Flight to Leh would go through the same situation. But, you must be ready, especially when flying to Leh during the Monsoon season and especially early morning before sunrise.
I assume you’ll surely be keeping your 2 days for acclimatization in Leh. Thus, that way, if your flight gets delayed by chance, you have your 2 days at least with you in Leh and nowhere far to go within LADAKH.
Have you undergone a situation of a flight return like that before?