North Korea Victory Day: Air Koryo Beijing-Pyongyang

Air Koryo and Air China fly Beijing to Pyongyang. Air China is more expensive, less memorable, and never has award availability. Gotta’ go for the full North Korean experience with Air Koryo.

North Korea Victory Day 014

Air Koryo is white-glove service on Russian TU-204-100’s.

North Korea Victory Day 008

Business class has standard short-haul business class seats.

North Korea Victory Day 592

Economy class is sleek with lots of room up front by the exit row.

North Korea Victory Day 011

Lots of reading material.

North Korea Victory Day 007

Choice headlines like “Disgusting buck-passing” and “Farce.”

North Korea Victory Day 013

Rousing in-flight entertainment.

North Korea Victory Day 017

Simple snack in economy, a chance to sample flat North Korean sparkling cider soda.

North Korea Victory Day 019

Peeking into business class, they have a nice spread, followed by a hot entree.

North Korea Victory Day 020

North Korea Victory Day 021

Upon arrival, just a little traffic on the runway.

North Korea Victory Day 022

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram

  • North Korea fascinates me. I was in South Korea in April, and I did the DMZ/Panmunjom tour where I got to peek inside the border, but I would really like to check out the country for myself. I’ve heard that it’s a surreal place that is almost impossible to understand until you are actually inside it. That being said, stay safe, especially on those ancient Russian planes.

  • The notion of North Korea’s state airline offering business class is truly striking.

  • Very nice!

  • Scott

    The pics are nice, but pic #1, you’re a creep!

  • Shannon

    You are my hero and made it again to N. Korea!! Last time there was no picture taken allowed. They let you do this time?

  • @Gary – North Korea is an extremely class-based and hierarchical society, it is much more a mix of totalitarianism and Confucianism than communism, so what seems an incongruity to outsiders appears to be normal to locals. Preferential treatment and privilege is in evidence everywhere.

    @Scott – I can see your view. Officially no electronics are allowed on Air Koryo at any time so I had to keep a low profile with pictures, last time I was scolded for taking a pic of the cabin. While in the typical half-hour sit on the Beijing runway waiting for takeoff I looked back and the calm of the flight attendant with the sun shining in seemed so poignant.

    @Shannon – electronics still officially not allowed but they seemed less uptight, when I later took a photo of business class they did not bark at me.

  • Lively

    Amazing. Thanks for the pics.

  • @Rapid Travel Chai – I wasn’t actually surprised to see this, and was making a very similar point in a fairly ham-handed way 🙂

  • @Gary – I know, just thought I would explicate for those less familiar with the country. Thinking it is communist leads to very misleading interpretations. For instance, at a model farm a person asked the guide if there is communal dining and it was one of the few times he got really passionate, “We NEVER had such things like other countries. That is totally against Korean tradition. We always eat meals at home as a family.”

  • john

    interesting comments. it is interesting how none of the communist/socialist regimes ever truly were that. just naming and spin for dictatorships.

  • I wonder if I can get a subscription to the Pyongyang Times. There are sadly very few articles in the NYT about “Disgusting Buck Passing” and “Farce”.