Flying to North Korea in Air Koryo Business ClassAt Australian Frequent Flyer, we love reading member trip reports of obscure airlines that few of us will ever get a chance to fly. And this week’s featured trip report by Chicken certainly fits the bill!

This AFF member recently flew from Beijing to Pyongyang in none other than Air Koryo Business Class. For the uninitiated, Air Koryo is the national airline of North Korea. Based in Pyongyang, the airline operates a fleet of Antonov, Tupolev and Ilyushin aircraft.

Air Koryo Business Class passengers have access to the Air China lounge at Beijing Airport. This is a comfortable lounge with a range of hot and cold food options.

After a quick visit to the lounge, it was time to board. How was Chicken‘s experience in Air Koryo Business Class?

This member was seated in 2D for this one-and-a-half hour flight from Beijing to Pyongyang. Business Class is laid out in a standard 2-2 configuration and the recliner seats appear comfortable, with ample leg room. The operating aircraft, a narrow-body Tupolev TU-204-100 with 12 Business Class and 210 Economy seats, is described as “noisy” and the interior as “very old”.

If you look closely at the seats, you would see scratches and chips on the paint. The interior is very old, and they clearly try to maintain it, but just don’t have the money for refurbishment.

Lunch was served on this short flight. The Business Class catering looks like a significant improvement over the infamous “mystery meat hamburger” served in Economy.

Lunch clock wise from right: sushi, tofu and sausages and olive, fruit salad, mushrooms and beans, top was caviar + fish in jelly + minced fish with egg sort of thing.

Others in my tour group who were in economy told me that they were served something which tried to resemble a hamburger but did not look edible. Not one single person had it apparently ……

Over the course of the flight, Chicken was told off by a flight attendant twice.

Upon arrival, everyone’s belongings were carefully scrutinised by North Korean customs officials.

After landing, we first cleared immigration. Nothing interesting here. Then we collected our luggage from the belt. All good here.

Now it is Customs. We needed to declare everything we bring in other than clothes and toiletries. This means all cash, all books, all electronics including how many phones / computers / memory / camera equipment.

This flight was just the beginning of a 5-day tour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! Read the full trip report on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum to see not only this member’s photos of the Air Koryo flight, but also their fascinating experience on tour in North Korea: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea / DPRK / Korea (north)

(For the Air Koryo Business Class review, skip to this post.)


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]