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North Korea’s Flagship Carrier is Online: A Trip Report

With his swanky Paris location, wise posts and je suis pedigree you’d think one-star carriers would be off the radar of notsosmart. But he let us know that we can now book online North Korea’s flagship carrier. They must have finally got a dial-up connection in Pyongyang.

Air Koryo is reportedly the world’s only one-star airline. Maybe North Koreans will flaunt that ranking from Skytrax thinking “one star” means “number-one airline.” In the meantime, let’s hope their Russian-built Tupolev aircraft remember the way home to Moscow via Beijing.

What do you say? How about a free pair of FT luggage tags to the member posting the first trip report? It would probably read something like this (Note up front: This is a cruel joke on people who have a hard, hard life under brutal dictators. Citizens of DPRK, we come in peace.):

“About 3-½ days after scheduled takeoff we finally lumbered off the runway. Beneath us, and sometimes ahead of us, we could see the industrious North Koreans doing laundry in the Tumen River. After reaching cruising altitude the pilot wound up his cockpit window and a stunningly attractive flight attendant rose from his knee announcing through a bullhorn, crafted from an old artillery shell, that everyone carrying a b&w television could now turn it on. No reception, but a lot of cache nonetheless.

“I’m a reader. I lit the candle that was waxed to the seat in front of me with the same match the FA used to try and light the kerosene space heater she placed in the aisle. There was no kerosene, but the effort alone warmed my heart. When I tossed the match near mayhem resulted when passengers scrambled for that little stick of firewood. But it was the pilot who emerged victorious from the scrum. No doubt he was seeking a travel gift to bring home to his spouse, parents, her parents and local party leaders.

“About two hours into the flight the same bullhorn announced the prepared, but cold, kimchi would not be served. Apparently the pilot had checked fuel reserves with a dipstick and after consulting his slide rule opted for a little more biodiesel.

“You don’t get to be a one-star air force general without knowing that it is better to be aloft and hungry than full and gliding towards the horizon.

“Feeling quite comfortable now, this is the point in the flight where I dozed off. Would someone please complete this trip report?”

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