Flying Air Koryo – World’s Only One Star Airline

So, you’ve spent months planning and dreaming about your trip to North Korea and you now find yourself standing in the departures lounge of Beijing airport, about to board an Air Koryo flight direct to Pyongyang and you’re struggling to breathe. Its ok, don’t panic, that’s a completely normal way to feel when your final destination is the world’s most secretive country. Holy fucking shit, somebody pass me a valium before I pass out.


If you’re like me, prior to arriving in Beijing you will have already researched the shit out of Air Koryo and know everything there is to know about the world’s only one-star airline. The feeling I got walking down the jet bridge and seeing the aircraft up close for the first time is only comparable to the feeling I got on my very first visit to Disneyland at 7 years old (ok ok thats a complete lie, I was actually 18 the first time I visited Disneyland, thanks for nothing Mom).


The aircraft interior can be simply described as what we like to say in Ireland, grand – neither good nor bad. If I’m being honest I’ve been on shabbier aircrafts, not looking at anyone in particular *cough US Airways cough*.


Question, do people actually get sick when flying? I’ve never encountered anyone who’s actually needed a barf bag. Still though, nice touch.


The moment the screens above our seats popped down, I knew we were in for a real treat. The graphics, the music, the production values! Honestly, I could have watched that screen for days for all of the nostalgic feels I didn’t know I had for a time I wasn’t even alive.


Takeoff was smooth so very little to complain about. It was however the moment of no return, I was actually on my way to the DPRK! To illustrate how I felt at this moment, here is a picture of me being hilarious.



So you’re now cruising over China and you’re thinking, I’d love something to have a wee nibble on. Well as luck would have it, Air Koryo operates a complimentary in-flight dining experience where every passenger is given a piece of food that resembles the look and feel of a hamburger. I LOVE HAMBURGERS so imagine my excitement.


Now imagine having all of that excitement crushed the moment you go in for a closer look.


At this point, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, life has gifted me with this very amazing opportunity to have my very first taste of North Korean “cuisine” and on the other, I actually don’t think I would be able to live with myself had I not tried at least one bite of that hamburger and if there’s one thing in this life that I want people to say about me when I’m gone, it’s “he’d try anything once that lad”. I’m reluctant to comment on the indecipherable meat / non-meat texture of the hamburger patty however, all I can say is that the following two pictures are displayed in the order in which they were taken.



Like takeoff, our landing in Pyongyang airport was smooth and with the exception of hamburger gate, I would have to say that flying Air Koryo was a very pleasant experience. Special shoutout to the more than nice cabin crew who pleasantly told me time and time again to put my camera away, sorry.



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