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Air Koryo JS 222: 12/APR/10: PEK-FNJ: Y Cabin  
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5052 posts, RR: 55
Posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Feedback always appreciated.

*** TRIP REPORT 100 ***





I > Background:
It is trip report #100 … so something special … a review of Air Koryo’s service from PEK to FNJ.

A few of us had qualified on a special approved “technical exchange” that would help DPRK and her airline industry. I had always wanted to go to the “other” Korea and this would be a fantastic opportunity to spend a week in the mysterious country. The visa was to be picked up from their Embassy in Beijing and a group of us were allocated a “special” flight to take us there.

I believe this would be the second report on Air Koryo, and the first featuring their TU-154M.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Air Koryo is the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea, headquartered in Pyongyang. It operates international services and charter flights to points in Asia and Africa.

This is Air Koryo – so there really is no opportunity to buy an online ticket. In fact, I was surprised that the ticket given to us were e-tickets. Of course, there is no one to call for a seat assignment; no online viewing of itineraries (they are one of the few “flag” carriers with no website); of course no online check-in or anything that we take so granted these days.

b) At Airport:
Unlike most carriers who use the Norman Foster designed T3 @ PEK, Air Koryo uses T1. So swap the beautiful terminal filled with white people with a functional basic building with people who look as diverse as China’s increasingly fascinating foreign policy. There are the few white people taking KL to AMS … but other than that, tons of flights to the “Stans” and those random other routes.

Air Koryo outsources the check-in process to a ground handling company and I was shocked (“disappointed”?) when she seamlessly issued me my boarding passes and tagged me to FNJ. Besides the IATA demarcation, there was nothing that seemed out of the ordinary. Both security and passport control were a breeze, and I was soon exploring the weird terminal filled with shops that belonged in a Communist era China. With Facebook and Youtube banned (seriously China, let go!), I didn’t really want to hang out at the lounge which I had access to thanks to Priority Pass.

Boarding was called a few minutes earlier and one could feel the anticipation of those of us making the trek. We knew we were special – we were al going to embark on a journey that was different than anywhere we had gone before. There were lots of picture taking of the TU5 and each of us cursed the silly boarding gate for the obstructed view. Walking down the boarding gate, it hit me … I was going to DPRK … the “axis of evil” country that was an international pariah. A sense of anticipation crept within and for a traveler who takes flying as second nature, it was an amazing feeling. Within seconds, my blessed life flashed through me and I realized that I was a lucky guy. Amazing how at random moments you become grateful for what you have … I suddenly had this huge grin thinking of why I travel, and what a great industry this is. As I entered the aircraft, I was immediately swept to another era. I had entered a “coach” bus with an interior that was reminiscent of 1960s/1970s train. There were big chairs in JCL and the entire setting was something from a movie. To get to YCL, I passed through the galley with its metal tea pots and taps … it looked more like a galley of a train, than on a plane.

At entering, there was 2 North Korean flight attendants welcoming us … they say “Welcome” in Korean in extremely organized manner … but there was a wall and everything seemed significantly detached.

Y load was around 90% as I later learned the flight had our group and a bunch of tourists … who I am sure was equally anticipatory of the trip!

>Airport - External:

(Beijing Airport, T1)

*

Check-in:



Airport - Internal:


(FIDS)


(Post Security @ FNJ)

*

Scenes of the tarmac:

(Flight to the “other” Korea)


Lounge

NONE

Boarding:

(Yes, we are going to Pyongyang!)


(Boarding gate area)


III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
After take-off, there was a full meal service followed by tea and café. During the entire service, Korean propaganda music was played … it was sort of eerie and I felt like I was going to be doctrinated by some member of the Dharma Initiative.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Air Koryo’s TU5 belongs to a different era. The first thing you notice is the open racks reminiscent of jetliners from the 1960s. It felt like a B707/B720 inside more than any other airliner. The entire aircraft was very well maintained and clean. While the lighting made the bathroom look antique, it was kept super clean during the entire length of the flight.

The seat itself was like any other YCL seat. The clothed seat was very comfortable and provided more recline than you would get in many US JCL seats. It was certainly more comfortable than sitting in a Euro JCL seat. Legroom was adequate for a flight of this length.

Aircraft:
(TU5 @ PEK)

*


Views from Aircraft:

(I wonder what each of the captains think looking at the other)

*

*


General Seat Views + Seat Legroom
(Seat controls)


(Legroom)

*


(Blanket)
NONE


Seat Recline + Angle View:

(Very generous recline: this will be the ONLY report where I blurry some of the passengers due to heightened sensitivities)

*


Cabin:


*

*
(Is this a plane?)

*

*

*

*

*

*

*
(Bathroom Amenities)

*

*


c) Meal + Beverage:
I was keenly waiting for lunch wondering what is served on Air Koryo … and boy, was I not disappointed! It was actually quite a great meal, and better food than I have encountered on many international long-haul JCL’s. I am almost convinced of sending Lufthansa this meal to remind them that the portions they serve are good for children.

There was wonderful kimchi, a rice-filled dumpling kind of thing, a fruit medley, an unmemorable sponge cake, and a very filling and tasty chicken curry with rice. More importantly, the chicken curry was huge in quantity. The picture may not do justice, but the container was sort of what you’d find in a Chinese take-out in terms of portion. All together, just excellent!

The meal was rounded with North Korean beer (several runs), and finally tea/café. All in all, a very fulfilling affair.

(Lunch)


d) Inflight Entertainment:
Air Koryo has no ICE … but, somehow the IFE was the flight itself. Observing other passengers, talking to them, observing the crew, and watching the dramatic change in landscape as the flight crossed into DPRK was just exhilarating. The crew does come through with copies of the Pyongyang Times and the DPRK official magazine … both providing fascinating insight into the kind of discussion one would have in the country.

(Distributed magazines)


(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)
(Fan given to everyone on board; boarding pass from return leg)


e) Crew:
Well, the Air Koryo crew was not really the definition of charming … but I am not sure they could be. Being DPRK, I am sure they were being watched and their performance monitored. Like an act in the Mass Games, they were extremely coordinated and the entire service was orchestrated to perfection. There were unison in welcoming and smiling … but too much of it felt like a show. However, to their credit, they efficiently moved around the cabin, did water runs, and promptly responded to any call button requests. Finally, they were extremely patient with customers who all took a zillion pictures on board. So, in short, better than many other crew members elsewhere!

IV> Post-Flight:
Arrival in Pyongyang was memorable as the plane touches down on a runway far away from the terminal building and then taxis in. As you do that, you pass a bunch of “exotic” animals such as the IL-18 and the IL-62. You then watch the terminal with “Dear Leader” and the “Great Leader” welcome you and remind you (just in case you had any doubt) that you have officially entered the country. At arrivals, your laptop and your mobile phone is confiscated ... and you then begin your journey of the Hermit Kingdom.

(FNJ)
(Arrival)

*

*

*

*

*

*


V> Impressions + Scores:
I did not fly on Air Koryo to sample their services. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised by some of it. While they are not going to win any awards anytime soon, I thought some of their soft product (ex: food) was excellent for YCL. While the hardware left much to be desired, it was part of the surreal fun. Given their unique “operational” basis, I thought the crew pulled it off well too.

Air Koryo is more than an airline. To fly it is to be part of an incredible journey into a country that few venture into. Given the chance (which is rare), I’d do it again. A thump up because they actually demonstrated that getting the basics right (food, basic courteous service) is not rocket science.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.66: Brussels Airlines (93): FIH-BRU: 01/2010
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.63: Jet Airways (88): JFK-BRU: 10/2009
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.36: Kingfisher (98): BOM-HKG: 01/2010
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.64: Royal Jordanian (91): AMM-YUL: 12/2009
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.25: Iran Air (88): BOM-IKA: 12/2009
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.07: Privatair (84): BOM-FRA: 08/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.52: Emirates (99): LHR-DXB: 02/2010
6.39: South African (97): EZE-JNB: 01/2010
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.29: TAM Brasil (96): POA-EZE: 02/2010
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.21: Iberia (87): BOS-MAD: 10/2009
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.88: African Express (89): DXB-NBO: 11/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.54: Ethiopian Airlines (95): ADD-BOM: 01/2010
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
7.00: LAN (94): IPC-SCL: 01/2010
6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.39: Condor (85): SEZ-FRA: 09/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.52: Aerolineas (86): USH-AEP: 10/2009
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.98: Air Koryo (100): PEK-FNJ: 04/2010
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.37: Felix Airways (92): SCT-SAH: 12/2009
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:
(Air Koryo Video)


(Some pictures of DPRK)

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*



Live, and let live.
82 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8467 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Lovely report Alex!

The reports on this airline and destination are few and far between, so thanks for going and sharing the experience with us.

That meal looked pretty darn good, much better than some maineline Western carriers!!

I'd be interested to see read about the journey out and see a few more pictures, I'd like to visit here, though the wife is most unlikely to but into it..

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineDCAJet From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 418 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
At arrivals, your laptop and your mobile phone is confiscated

What? And are they returned to you as you leave the country?

Cheers,



"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5052 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 1):
Lovely report Alex!

The reports on this airline and destination are few and far between, so thanks for going and sharing the experience with us.

That meal looked pretty darn good, much better than some maineline Western carriers!!

I'd be interested to see read about the journey out and see a few more pictures, I'd like to visit here, though the wife is most unlikely to but into it..

Cheers

Mark

= Mark, the food was much better than JCL on many mainline Western carriers!

You must go!!! I am sure you can work your charm on your wife and convince her. What is your wife's main concern?

What pictures do you want to see? BTW, everything (in terms of taking pics) is monitored and "approved" ...

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5052 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting DCAJet (Reply 2):

What? And are they returned to you as you leave the country?

Cheers,

= LOL. Yes. I did not bring a laptop, but my phone was promptly handed back.

Saludos.
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineELAL772 From Israel, joined Jun 2008, 158 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

ABSOLUTELY fascinating!!!
Thank you for letting us into this mysterious world!

Seems as if there were quite a bit of westerners on the flight...
I wonder what takes them to NKorea (?!?)

I hope you post a TR for the flight out of FNJ...


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4250 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Alex,

fantastic to read this! Aside from the flight -yes it looks very good, service wise-, being on a Tu-154 etc. , I must say the pictures form the DPRK are very nice to see. That's a beautiful building actually. Never expected something 'big' was actually build in Pyongyang (I suppose?).

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
At arrivals, your laptop and your mobile phone is confiscated ... and you then begin your journey of the Hermit Kingdom.

I what way do they store it for you? In a box or so? Do you get some ticket to retrieve it later again? I wonder if officials will looks into PC's etc to find out information from 'the West'. What do you think?

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1104 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

WOW you seriously have some of the most unique TRs out there. That's awesome that you went to the DPRK, I've wanted to go there for some time, although I suppose that it would be somewhat of a challenge considering I'm American....

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
At arrivals, your laptop and your mobile phone is confiscated ... and you then begin your journey of the Hermit Kingdom.

What's the purpose of this? Without cell service or internet access, I can't think of a reason they would have to confiscate these things.

It's kinda funny that some aspects of JS's service are better than those of the world's "reliable" carriers.

How was your stay in FNJ?


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5052 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 5):
ABSOLUTELY fascinating!!!
Thank you for letting us into this mysterious world!

= Anytime. I am glad I could go on this trip of a lifetime.

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 5):

Seems as if there were quite a bit of westerners on the flight...
I wonder what takes them to NKorea (?!?)

= They were all spies  . No, kidding. Some of them were part of my group ... and I believe there was an "approved" tourist group going as well.

Quoting ELAL772 (Reply 5):

I hope you post a TR for the flight out of FNJ...

= Sadly no. No cameras are allowed whatsoever at the airport ... moreover, this is reinforced by your "minder" (aka spy) who personally monitors you and gets jittery even if you touch the camera case.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 6):
fantastic to read this! Aside from the flight -yes it looks very good, service wise-, being on a Tu-154 etc. , I must say the pictures form the DPRK are very nice to see. That's a beautiful building actually. Never expected something 'big' was actually build in Pyongyang (I suppose?).

= I was surprised as well ... and actually the city looks remarkably modern when viewed from high up. What was eerie is going to eat dinner one night and it being pitch black around us ... including in all residential buildings.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 6):

I what way do they store it for you? In a box or so? Do you get some ticket to retrieve it later again? I wonder if officials will looks into PC's etc to find out information from 'the West'. What do you think?

= Interesting proposition. When I got my mobile phone back, it was wrapped in a brown envelope, then in a plastic bag, and then sealed with those wax-seals.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):
WOW you seriously have some of the most unique TRs out there. That's awesome that you went to the DPRK, I've wanted to go there for some time, although I suppose that it would be somewhat of a challenge considering I'm American....

= Thank you. The TR's I write is to contribute to this incredibly community who I have learned so much from. YOU MUST GO! It is undoubtedly one of the most amazing trips I have been on. And Americans can go now ... movement is more restricted, but can be done.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):

What's the purpose of this? Without cell service or internet access, I can't think of a reason they would have to confiscate these things.

= Only thing I can think of is you give the mobile phone to someone in DPRK who is not authorized to have a phone?

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 7):
How was your stay in FNJ?

= It was incredible. I learned so much about the place and myself. What was really haunting was the faces of the people ... expressionless as they went about their daily commute and resembling like their soul had been replaced by a computer. I just cannot explain the feeling I got each time I would look at them. They seemed so lifeless.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineAI151 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2009, 303 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Alex an amazing TR and great pictures in North Korea. Did taking any pictures on board as well as in the city cause you any problems in general as the security we all know is very tight.

The meal looks very nice and filling and it was odd to see that kitchen style metal work place on the aircraft.

Finally congrats on your 100th TR! Each one has been unique in their own way and I look forward to plenty more in the future.

Regards

Sandeep (AI151)



Modern Vision. Timeless Traditions...
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2992 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Fascinating report and pictures! Thanks.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
A few of us had qualified on a special approved “technical exchange” that would help DPRK and her airline industry

Does this mean you relaxed your rule on not doing Trip Reports on work trips?  

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1146 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

US airlines should go to Pyong Yang to get training on how to prepare a proper meal.

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15692 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
This is Air Koryo – so there really is no opportunity to buy an online ticket.

I guess Kim Jong Il hasn't invented that yet.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2291 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

As you know I always follow your TRs, and you have flown to some pretty cool places. I however must ask you this, Including this destination or any others, have you ever felt scared to enter a country?


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineTravelsUK From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Fascinating and an incredibly interesting TR - it has certainly made for a enjoyable Saturday morning read!

Loved the galley shot, definately something from a bygone era although I would have to question the usefulness of that exit door...


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8467 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 3):
What pictures do you want to see? BTW, everything (in terms of taking pics) is monitored and "approved" ...

- Just more pictures of the city, buildings, countryside, stuff to give a view of the way of life if you know what I mean.

Thanks  

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlinerogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1197 posts, RR: 20
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Bravo Alex!

You could not have chosen a better airline to dedicate your 100 Trip Report. Truly excellent!

The airline seems to be of another world, no only the interiors look something of the past but service seems to be as well something we have already forgotten...

Last Monday there was program on TV about North Korea and the images they show are quite exactly the same you show up here... probably the only ones allowed to foreigners; and they commented on the necessity to take pictures of the statue of the Great Leader just in full, the two tube stations allowed to visitors... They talked as well about their national intranet service which filters and cuts out all the "unnecessary" web pages.

Excellent job!

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinePagophilus From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

That photo of the aeroplane's metal toilet reminds me of some railways station toilets in Melbourne, Australia, neighbourhoods not exactly known for their lack of crime at night (except for the cleanliness and lack of graffiti).

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15692 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
stuff to give a view of the way of life if you know what I mean.

There is absolutely no way in hell they would allow someone to take pictures or real North Korean life.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report. I like your writing and photos.

User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1287 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey Alex,

Thank you for this opportunity to take a look at North Korea, and it's airline. This is very special.

Were you allowed to walk freely in the country, or you had to be escorted all the time?

Still, visiting a country holding 200,000 people in concentration camps, did I mention that you are braver then me?

Good Job, as always,

LY

[Edited 2010-07-10 08:21:49]


"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineThule From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for the TR! It's always bizarre seeing Air Koryo / North Korea TRs. Maybe it's just because I'm American, but I find it hard to praise things like their service and their meals when I consider how many North Koreans will never have a meal that "nice" in their lives. Remember that Koryo exists mainly to shuttle the ruling class around.

Maybe I'm just still reeling from the documentary I watched: http://www.vbs.tv/watch/the-vice-gui...l/vice-guide-to-north-korea-1-of-3

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
This is Air Koryo – so there really is no opportunity to buy an online ticket.

I guess Kim Jong Il hasn't invented that yet.

He's too busy personally leading the NK team to its 20th World Cup victory!


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5052 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting AI151 (Reply 9):
Did taking any pictures on board as well as in the city cause you any problems in general as the security we all know is very tight.

= Well, all pictures have to be pre-approved. Your guide tells you if it is appropriate to take a picture or not ... and you NEVER take a picture without permission. Taking unnecessary pictures mostly undermines your guide and puts her/him at risk.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 9):
The meal looks very nice and filling and it was odd to see that kitchen style metal work place on the aircraft.

= Yes.

Quoting AI151 (Reply 9):

Finally congrats on your 100th TR! Each one has been unique in their own way and I look forward to plenty more in the future.

= Thanks Sandeep. I am glad I could provide coverage here on some random strange routings.

Quoting signol (Reply 10):
Does this mean you relaxed your rule on not doing Trip Reports on work trips?

= Haha. Not quite. This was a trip "earned" through my professional credentials ... it wasn't really a work trip and I was not representing my clients and/or employer.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 11):
US airlines should go to Pyong Yang to get training on how to prepare a proper meal.

= LOL.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
I guess Kim Jong Il hasn't invented that yet.

= LOL.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 13):
As you know I always follow your TRs, and you have flown to some pretty cool places. I however must ask you this, Including this destination or any others, have you ever felt scared to enter a country?

= Thanks. I have felt scared to enter countries ... but you would be shocked to hear what countries make me feel unsafe as I enter them (or, deal with their Immigration authorities).

Quoting TravelsUK (Reply 14):
Fascinating and an incredibly interesting TR - it has certainly made for a enjoyable Saturday morning read!

= Thank you.

Quoting TravelsUK (Reply 14):

Loved the galley shot, definately something from a bygone era although I would have to question the usefulness of that exit door...

= Yup.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
- Just more pictures of the city, buildings, countryside, stuff to give a view of the way of life if you know what I mean.

Thanks

Mark

= Mark, I will try to post some other pictures. I think it would be hard to put pics of "the way of life" as everything is monitored.

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 16):
You could not have chosen a better airline to dedicate your 100 Trip Report. Truly excellent!

The airline seems to be of another world, no only the interiors look something of the past but service seems to be as well something we have already forgotten...

= Thanks Roger. BTW, are you in Barcelona? My love-interest is moving there and I will be visiting with increased frequency.

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 16):

Last Monday there was program on TV about North Korea and the images they show are quite exactly the same you show up here... probably the only ones allowed to foreigners; and they commented on the necessity to take pictures of the statue of the Great Leader just in full, the two tube stations allowed to visitors... They talked as well about their national intranet service which filters and cuts out all the "unnecessary" web pages.

= Ya. There is also a lot of other interesting things ... if you note the picture of the Great Leader (the one whose pic I have) ... it is of course the entire body. Also, to take a picture here, you MUST bring flowers.

Quoting Pagophilus (Reply 17):
That photo of the aeroplane's metal toilet reminds me of some railways station toilets in Melbourne, Australia, neighbourhoods not exactly known for their lack of crime at night (except for the cleanliness and lack of graffiti).

= LOL.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 19):
Great trip report. I like your writing and photos.

= Thank you.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 20):
Were you allowed to walk freely in the country, or you had to be escorted all the time?

= No, I was escorted all the time ... it is a surreal experience ... especially for someone like me.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 20):
Still, visiting a country holding 200,000 people in concentration camps, did I mention that you are braver then me?

= Thanks. The thing is ... as a visitor, you'd never feel scared ... strange and weird, yes. Scared, no.

Quoting Thule (Reply 21):
Thanks for the TR! It's always bizarre seeing Air Koryo / North Korea TRs. Maybe it's just because I'm American, but I find it hard to praise things like their service and their meals when I consider how many North Koreans will never have a meal that "nice" in their lives. Remember that Koryo exists mainly to shuttle the ruling class around.

= I gave considerable amount of attention thinking whether I should go. Ultimately, I decided that travel broadens the mind and no more so than in North Korea. We all have our opinions on countries and decide on personal embargoes, etc ... but sometimes we do them arbitrarily without recognizing how our actions may actually translate. While I do believe that 75% of my trip was completely from the "Truman Show", the rest were genuine interactions ... and those which perhaps had the greatest impact on my host citizens ... and ANY contact with Koreans is beneficial to breaking down barriers. As much as I thought so many of them were humorless and robotic, my limited real interactions also pointed to people who were extremely proud and living a life with dignity overcoming tremendous adversity with warmth.

Saludos, and thanks for reading,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineSirThomas From UK - England, joined Jul 2009, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report!...

I read this in anticipation of my own trip to the DPRK next month, and I must say, for an avid historian like myself...
this has whetted my appetite even more so!

I think the part of me that most wants to visit that eerie, totalitarian, place, is solely because no-one really visits there and that I always believe you have to visit places to dispel the rumours... cause lets face it, no one country is particularly friendly with old man Kim's fantasy-world are they?  

Did you visit Pyongyang alone, or venture further afield?

Anyways, it's nice to know you had a good time there...

Tom

(God, I hope I get to ride one of the old Soviet planes!) 



Flown On: A319/A320/A321/A332/A333/AT45/734/736/738/744/DH8D/T204/T154/IL62/T134/IL-18/An-24
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1682 posts, RR: 31
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 days ago) and read 32767 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 8):
When I got my mobile phone back, it was wrapped in a brown envelope, then in a plastic bag, and then sealed with those wax-seals.

Alex,

Did you wipe-out all your SMS and phone-numbers from your mobile ?

No doubt, these have all been checked before putting your phone in the aforementioned envelope and plastic bag...  Wow!

Would love to see more city pictures, if you have them...

That TU154 galley is priceless !!!   

Cheers,

Pieter...   



don't throw away tomorrow !
25 modesto2 : Amazing trip report. Thanks for the comprehensive airplane report and the interesting images of the country.
26 Contact Air : Hi Alex, Outstanding report and pictures about an airline most of us probably won't ever get the chance to fly. You definitely found something special
27 chepos : Thank you so much for sharing, I have been eagerly waiting for an Air Koryo trip report. Did I see a bar of soap in the aircraft lavatory, I don' reca
28 Aleksandar : Wooow, every time I find your new TR it gets more and more fascinating. Recently, I watched some eerie documentary about life in North Korea and when
29 Longhornmaniac : Alex, this trip report has to be one of my favorite's, simply because it is so exotic. I actually felt like I was there, which is an amazing feat in a
30 FlyboyOz : Interesting report and photos. I am surprised that there were lots of westerners in the cabin to North Korea. I would like to go there one day!
31 Post contains images abrelosojos : = You are going to have an interesting time I am sure ... so much of it will be exactly how you have prepared for in your mind ... and yet, so much o
32 colts001 : A unique trip report, most of your trip reports are different in some way new airline or new routing etc but this one is fitting for your 100th trip r
33 Post contains images reifel : Hi Alex, what a great report for such a special occasion! I was impressed to see that you guys were allowed to do so many pictures onboard. Food looks
34 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Thanks a lot - we will see about the next 100 . = Thank you. I was actually surprised that someone did not mind me taking the picture ... especiall
35 Post contains images vietsky : Oh my god! Great trip report. I have been waiting to see what inside Air Koryo for years. BTw, if I was a captains of DPRK, I will think: thanks to ou
36 Coal : Thanks for the very unusual report! Always good to read about such obscure carriers. Actually that is T2, not T1. Other than KL, KE, and a handful of
37 jumpseat2l : Congratulations on TR#100. Fascinating report. If you haven't, may I suggest you read "Nothing to Envy." Recently published book by a Western reporter
38 mtaabq : Fascinating! Utterly fascinating! Thank you so much, Alex, for sharing that.
39 Post contains images Widebodyroga : A great TR once again Alex. All of us are continuously anticipating your next installment and you never disappoint us Is this trip going to affect you
40 turk223 : Absolutely fascinating! You don't need to be lauded, but your trip reports are always so great... always!
41 akhmad : Hi Alex, Wow, what an uniquely fascinating airline to commemorate your 100th trip report. For sure you were blessed being chosen to join the exchange
42 HAM : Hi there, Great report! I especially liked that galley photo. Actually (at least according to your pics) you flew on the exact same plane as myself la
43 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Jaja. I guess this would have been even more appropriate when they flew the IL6. = Ya. You're absolutely right. I always confuse my T1 and T2 at PE
44 akhmad : I got scalded when the purser caught me taking a picture inside the cabin that it was not allowed to take pictures at all, not even out of the window
45 HAM : Last year in May/June for a week. There´s a TR on my flight here on a.net as well. By the way, my passport was stamped and the visa was a full-page
46 Post contains images SirThomas : That is odd I think they normally only stamp if you do the entry/exit by train... I'll confirm next month (Air in/Train out). As for the Visa's, they
47 Post contains images MIAspotter : Alex! what can I say... another great report and what a way to celebrate 100 TRs than with a JS flight... Interesting read, North Korea seems like a f
48 kiramakora : Incredible trip report Alex. I would like to join the chorus in applauding you. After DPRK, is there really any country you have left to go to?!
49 IrishAyes : Love it! Great TR...
50 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Hey - I am curious - what airline was it? And, what routing? I am really surprised this happened to you in Spain. They are usually very relaxed abo
51 TN727 : EXCELLENT REPORT. I always love reading your reports. Just a pipe dream, but I will get there one day.
52 Post contains links HAM : Sure, here's the link: ZRH-AMS-PEK-FNJ On KL And JS, Incl. Tupolev 154B (by HAM Jun 16 2009 in Trip Reports) I actually got 4 stamps in total - I mea
53 abrelosojos : = Thank you. Come on ... if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way! = Great TR. It was fascinating comparing both of ours. Did you notice that the
54 Post contains links HAM : Thanks! Yes, I noticed that the food was the same... mine was a bit on the cold side though. Well, I didn´t actually cross the border (i.e. walking
55 The777Man : What an amazing way to celebrate trip report 100 for you!!! Fascinating report on a very unusual airline and destination. Food looks pretty good! I li
56 akhmad : It happened to me on board of Vueling en route from AMS to BCN. I have posted a trip report of it as well. Apart of the reprimand the cabin attendant
57 Post contains images eastafspot : Hi Alex, What a great surprise and present that you offer to this community for your 100th TR!!! you desserve a thunders of applause Some airports wor
58 globalflyer : Absolutely fascinating! What an incredible experience! Thanks again for sharing! Cheers, Liam
59 MaverickM11 : Awesome trip report. I've been DYING to go to DPRK--ironic seeing as most North Koreans are literally dying--but I'm a little worried that it's going
60 ckblah : Thanks for sharing your North Korean experience! Is it worthwhile to go to DPRK as a tourist? (discounting that it's the most reclusive state in the w
61 gunsontheroof : Absolutely fantastic report! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on #100! I'm insanely jealous of your trip--what an opportunity! Nice photos as
62 kiramakora : Wow. Cool report. I join the chorus in singing your praise and also wanting more pictures!
63 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing. BTW, I went to the exact line and have a similar picture ... will post when I get home. I did not have the wh
64 PlaneHunter : Hi Alex, your 100th report is probably the best you have ever posted - what a pleasure to read! Nevertheless, I wouldn't visit that country as long as
65 luisde8cd : Amazing 100th trip report, this is a 5/5 quality addition to the TR database indeed. Interesting perspective of a trip to the most secretive country i
66 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi Alex, Another excellent report of an airline hardly covered, let alone in depth! A very interesting read on a route that I doubt I'll be doing in a
67 MIAspotter : The government was planning to open one, but I think there is only one office in Beijing. MIAspotter.
68 Post contains images abrelosojos : = Thanks PH. It was definitely an unique experience. Thing is ... I never felt like I was under threat. The entire thing is surreal though ... = PH,
69 swissgabe : Great report. Seems like not a lot of changes since my trip with JS back in 2001. I flew PEK-FNJ vv on IL6. Wish I could have enjoyed their TU3 or TU5
70 vio : Hello Alex, Congratulations on your 100th report. I must say, you've really outdone yourself here, with a report that is interesting and fascinating.
71 NZ107 : Haha. I am curious as to what the response would be like, if you receive one!
72 BrusselsSouth : Great 100th report, fascinating airline and country ! Keep up the good work ! Regards BrusselsSouth
73 aal151heavy : Thanks for sharing and giving us a fascinating and rare look! Passing this along from a "rivet counter" friend: Great report! P-561, the Air Koryo air
74 abrelosojos : = Wow. Cool. Did my experience mirror yours? Also, do you have pics of the IL-62 interiors? = Thanks a lot. You should go visit DPRK ... = Ya - must
75 malioil : Wow... you beat me to it ! I'm flying on this airline to Pyongyang before flying to more regional cities in this country within the month. Infact I le
76 abrelosojos : = Let me know if you need any advice ... you going as part of a delegation, or a tour group (such as Koryo?) Saludos, A.
77 Post contains images eastafspot : Hi alex, What a strange feeling indeed! do you mean there is no other way to go there without TO? no still in UK, but i will be there soon. Look forwa
78 Post contains images castroprauxel : Abrelosojos, you're the king LOL Teach LH this one as well! Wonderful trip report, as always!
79 Post contains images abrelosojos : = A return to Mama Afrika ... = Thank you . = Trust me, I have become a "nuisance" to the F&B guy at LH ... right "WM" ? = LOL. One thing at a ti
80 castroprauxel : Well, I'll have to agree with that.. although LH has lots of other national flying with them, I don't believe taking the bad sides of german hospital
81 MEA-707 : cool, I just see your TR now. I will go with a German group mid september and I look forward even more reading your great report. I hope at least we g
82 abrelosojos : = Hey - don't worry - I am not approving of this method of service. And, I think the European carriers will increasingly struggle in the next 20 year
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