Booking a mountain flight with Pakistan Airlines

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Karachi, Pakistan

Booking a mountain flight with Pakistan Airlines Karachi Reviews

alexchan alexchan
122 reviews
It's really easy; most instructions that suggest otherwise are badly outdated Jun 20, 2012
Booking with PIA for normal flights saleable via their website www.piac.com.pk is simple and the process is quite normal.

There is a lot of outdated information on the internet about how to book a mountain flight (eg. Islamabad to Gilgit or Chitral, and vice versa) which are not confirmable until about a day before departure.

It is very simple:

* Ring PIA's 24h call centre on 111 786 786 (from a mobile, add 051 as a prefix).

* Tell them your travel requirements.

* They will create a PNR with a waitlist for your required flight(s).

* You then have go a city or airport office to pay for the tickets (credit cards OK).

* There is a ticketing (payment) time limit which in our case was 3 days after the creation of the booking.

* They will ring you to advise confirmation about a day before departure when your waitlist and operation of your flight is Confirmed. It is advisable to have a Pakistani number for this purpose.

* If you're out of coverage (like we were), retrieve your PNR online at their website and monitor the status. If it becomes Confirmed, ring them to acknowledge it so that your status becomes Reconfirmed.

Good luck with the weather! Don't forget to say you're a foreigner as the price is higher (but so is your waitlist priority); apparently I sounded very Pakistani to them! It could be problematic if you turn up at the airport with a local rather than foreigner's ticket.

On our departure from Gilgit to Islamabad, the weather at Gilgit was good but it wasn't along the flightpath. Both flights that day got cancelled.

I retrieved my PNR on PIA's website and the status had been updated to Cancelled and a replacement Confirmed flight booking could also be seen. Shortly after, we received a phone call on my mobile asking if we would like to accept the new flight. We did and the status could be seen changing from Confirmed to Reconfirmed.

Also be wary that weight is an issue for those mountain flights. On our second attempt, we managed to fly but our bags got left behind. I believe that no fuel is uplifted in Gilgit so the flight operates with only half a tank of fuel; and with detours in both the outbound and return flight due to weather conditions they simply couldn't put everything on board. Be nice to your guesthouse in the highlands as you may need them to forward your bags by bus.

In short, PIA's operations in some respects is as good as any airline's. Sure enough, their onboard experience (even on jets) may seem a little unrefined. And you can't blame them for not flying those mountain flights when safety is at stake.
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