Yough Pioneer Tours

Is Air Koryo the World’s Worst Airline?

Air Koryo seems to have a bit of a bad reputation – but we’re not really sure why. Many customers heading into North Korea by plane often dread the flight because of myths they’ve read on the internet. 

We’re here to clear things up!


Which airlines are worse than Air Koryo?

This could potentially be a very long list. Since expanding into international tours, us YPT guides have had the pleasure of flying some of the world’s least known and least appealing airlines.

Ranking at the top of the “I’d rather eat my own arm than book this ticket” list would have to be low cost budget carriers of Europe; Ryan Air and EasyJet.

In China, Spring Airlines and China Southern (special place in hell for this one).

In the Middle East, Fly Dubai doesn’t really tickle our fancy and neither does Russia’s Ural Airlines.

Many of the aforementioned airlines do offer budget tickets which for us money-savvy travellers is often more important than comfort. Some of the airlines are also necessary if flying to some of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia.


So, why do we like Air Koryo?

This is down to a few factors which make up the experience that is flying with Air Koryo.

Did someone say leg room?

Older planes equals longer leg room. You won’t feel like a Euro city break Ryan Air battery hen on one of Air Koryo’s flights. For someone my size (6’2”), leg room is a big factor, even if the total flight time from Beijing is only two hours. Thus, this earns them a big tick in our book.

Impeccable Uniforms

The Air hostesses of Air Koryo, while sometimes not having the best English skills certainly could teach other airline staff a thing or two about presentation. Well-maintained sky and electric blue uniforms are appealing to the eye and go well with their smiling DPRK-style service.

The mystery burger

The inflight meal for Koryo will consist of what we call the “mystery burger”. Named so because of its indistinguishable soviet style meat patty, which no one can really tell which animal it comes from. A sweet bun and of course mayonnaise make for a quick snack in the air. It may not be gourmet, vegan, biodynamic etc etc. But hey, at least you get something and aren’t charged an extra fee for it.

To all the haters out there who dislike Air Koryo, yes it may have its flaws, but it by no means is the world’s worst airline. 

Side note: special shout out to Air Bagan (a domestic airline in Myanmar) which plays an awesome Christmas RnB remix around the holiday season while you’re on the tarmac.
To experience this, check out our Myanmar Christmas tour!

If you would like to fly on Air Koryo and experience the “mystery burger” then join one of our many YPT North Korea tours. 

Get an international flight from Beijing on our May Day tour, or experience an internal Air Koryo flight on our All Koreas: Part 2 Tour

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