Air Koryo: The World's Only 'One-Star' Carrier

Air Koryo is the flagship carrier of North Korea and have almost daily flights to and from Beijing, as well as weekly services to Vladivostok, Shenyang and occasionally Shanghai. They also run a number of charter flights to and from south-east Asia, as well as a number of other destinations at more sporadic intervals.

After years of being ranked by Skytrax as the world's worst airline, national carrier Air Koryo is undergoing a revolution, according to interviews with passengers and travel agents. New planes, new in-flight entertainment options, smart new uniforms for the cabin attendants, even business class.

Air Koryo

The communal screens that drop down from the ceiling will keep you entertained with propaganda broadcasts and concerts by supreme leader Kim Jong Un's favorite all-female band, Moranbong. They sing patriotic songs about, well, Kim Jong Un. Bring noise-cancelling earphones. There's no volume control.

Air Koryo Inside the cockpit.  

While the food, especially in the new business-class lounge, has improved, the most-photographed component of a trip remains the famous "mystery-meat" burger.

Air Koryo A hamburger offered on Air Koryo  

Business Class Customers are invited to use The Air China Lounge in Terminal 2. Most airlines that operate out of Terminal 2 also use this common lounge (including Korean Air, who departs at the same time as Air Koryo!).The lounge is spacious but in need of refurbishment. There is however, plenty of food and beverages on offer.

Air Koryo are just like any other airliner in the world. They take aviation safety very serious with a safe flying record for decades now. The only known fatal accident Air Koryo has suffered was in 1983 when the airline was still named CAAK, according to Harro Ranter, founder and director of the Aviation Safety Network, which has compiled detailed descriptions of over 10,700 incidents, hijackings and accidents going back to the 1950s.