Drukair: My Flight to Bhutan to Find Happiness

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Drukair Flight Review is part of the ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.


“On the Wings of the Dragon” is DrukAir’s slogan. When I learned Druk meant dragon in Bhutanese, I felt safe. It also didn’t hurt that I was flying on an Airbus A319. Look at these beautiful photos of the plane. I love the livery.

Business Class

I asked my tour guide who books business class. He chuckled and said that business class sells out only because there are limited flights to Bhutan and people will pay out of necessity.

Peasant Class

I was fine with my seat and meal.

The flight time is less than one hour and most of it was spent staring out the window hoping to spot Mount Everest. Despite it being foggy, I was able to get one decent photo.

The rest of the flight was spent eagerly anticipating my journey to find happiness (see Happiness: TPOL’s Search for the Point of Life in Bhutan).

Arrival 

After taking another photo of the plane and the airport, I was ready for the adventure to begin.

TPOL’s TIP: To see Everest, sit on the left if you’re flying from KTM to Paro. Sit on the right on the way back.

TPOL’s TIP: You can’t book flights to Bhutan with points. Indeed, you can’t book trips to Bhutan without hiring a local travel agent (see How to Book a Trip to Bhutan). The cost roundtrip for the flight was $403.


Drukair Flight Review is part of the ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, we’ve practically been stalking each other. We flew Druk on March 4 from Kathmandu to Bhutan and on March 7 from Bhutan to Bangkok (the day after the country reported their first Covid-19 case and shut down the country for incoming tourists, but I digress, and that’s an entire blog you could write on its own). Couple of things we learned about Druk:
    – The travel companies in Bhutan block seats well in advance and you often have flights (especially seats on business class) showing up as unavailable while they in reality are, so you need to call the Druk office’s phone (a bit of a logistical challenge, but trust me, they answer and you get results) to get real availability.
    – There’s always a good chance you can get upgraded at the airport, so ask, and even if the gate agent says no, ask them to check with their supervisor. That’s how we got upgraded on the way back to Bangkok for $105, which was so worth it!
    – Here’s something annoying: if you want to upgrade at the airport, you can only do so by paying cash. They accept either Bhutan currency or USD, but only cash. We tried using the ATM at the airport but our bank kept giving us fraud warnings and it was quite the effort to get our cash (fellow American travelers let us borrow their USD cash)
    – Flying from Kathmandu to Bhutan, definitely try to get the window seats on the left side of the plane (“A” seats) and the right side of the plane for the Bhutan to Kathmandu flight. The views are incredible. We had a clear sunny day and got amazing views of the Annapurna and Everest summits (I would upload here if I were able to).
    – Given the longer flight from Kathmandu to Bangkok (about three hours), they served us a full lunch. I have to say, it was one of the best on-air lunches I’ve ever had, and our eventual business class lunch on Emirates from Bangkok to Dubai paled in comparison to the flavor and the quality of the food at Druk.
    – The cabin crew is amazing!
    – It’s quite an experience if you ever fly when one of the members of the royal family is on your flight. They do not have their own private jets and travel business class and get a row assigned to them when they travel Druk. The announcements and the service changes, endearingly so!
    – We heard that there are plans and ongoing discussions for Qatar to do direct flights to Bhutan and that should make a massive shift to how one flies to Bhutan and the impact on tourism. RIght now, flying from the US, you would typically take two flights to India (Delhi) and then take a Druk or Bhutan airlines flight (with super limited schedule availability) to Bhutan. With Qatar opening up, you could fly directly on points and also fly directly from the US and have your bags checked in all the way through!

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