North Korea's Air Koryo: The World's One-Star Airline

I am tickled to learn airlines are given star ratings just like hotels. By the international airline review agency Skytrax.

Five-star airlines include Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. Thai Airways and Virgin Atlantic are granted four-star status. Three stars are begrudged to the likes of American Airlines and Aeroflot. Lowly Air Zimbabwe and Biman Bangladesh snag two stars.

But the world’s sole one-star airline: Air Koryo, the flag carrier of North Korea. Looks like there’s a Bangkok office too, so it must fly through our Suvarnabhumi Airport. There is a North Korean Embassy here, so I guess the diplomats fly it.

Clicking on the website link in the Wikipedia entry brings up an inspirational communist-looking logo, but the words “has been temporarily replaced” strike me as rather ominous.

In North Korea, airlines fly you.

I was especially… struck… by the photograph of the meal service.

What the hell was that food on the plate? It looked like vomit.

How many people actually fly on this airline? And given the safety record, I wouldn’t use them even with free flight.

Good grief, what IS that?

I liked the boarding pass. Seat 19F? They really have enough passengers on the flight that they have to use seat 19F?

The food doesn’t look all that weird. It’s a sandwich. The top part is the top bun with a leaf of lettuce on top of a creamy spread (cream cheese, mayo-based, or something) containing chopped vegetables (small bits of diced carrot are visible). The bottom is a small pressed patty of either chopped meat/vegetables (thinking pork or chicken and the ubiquitous diced carrot) or a “veggie patty” on the other half of the small white bread bun. The patty’s been lightly grilled/fried

Where’s the beef? :smiley:

Heh. Meal quality was one of the few categories the airline actually scored better than one star. If you’re underwhelmed by the meals, think what the lavatories are like!

I’ve always hoped there would be an airline that offered the trough-style urinals that are found in old stadiums. I think I may have found a candidate…

Although they got zero stars for “Dine-on-Demand efficiency”, whatever that is. I’m guessing this means you get only what they serve you, when they want to serve it to you, and that’s that.

Actually, on “Washroom cleanliness”, in the various ticket classes, they get 2 or 3 stars (out of 5) every time.

Which could still be pretty grubby and unappealing.

No… No, its’ vomit.

Remember the scene in Return of the Mummy (I think it was) where the kid has to use the lav on the train, opens it up, looks down, and sees the tracks wizzing by?

I kinda imagine the same thing.

Only without the tracks.

On the bright side, the staff seem to be moderately well-groomed and enthusiastic.

“Have some more braised vomit, Mr. Tourist?”

“Vomit, tea, or me?”

Yikes. I thought Air China was bad - my seat was broken and wouldn’t un-recline, several overhead bins wouldn’t latched closed and flapped open and shut throughout the trip, and the snack was a bun that smelled like play dough, but I see they got three stars, so I can only imagine what one star would mean.

(I only flew once on Air China and I may well have gotten their only scary plane. Hopefully the rest of them are great.)

And here I thought that Alitalia with their rude employees, unreliable schedule and chunky coffee had to be the worst.

I think so. I’ve been on Air China many times and they are pretty good, actually. Same as any standard US airline, anyway.

I have flown on Air China a few dozen times, and I do not think I have encountered the first two on your list. However, I now exclusively use Air Canada when traveling to China.

Holy shit. North Korea has an official forum.

Best. Moderation. Gig. Ever.

Yes, I know it’s just a propaganda outlet, not a message board. Hush, you.

What forum?

Appropriately, it’s a propaganda blog with comments disabled.