Air Koryo: the 1980s called, and they want their business class seats back

Air Koryo: the 1980s called, and they want their business class seats back

Air Koryo, North Korea's official only airline, has revealed new business class seats for its fleet of Antonov An-148-100B jets.

Each of the Soviet-made jets will sport eight of the padded recliners at the pointy end "on selected regional international services."

Air Koryo is infamously ranked as the world's only one-star airline according to Skytrax, although allows a more generous 5.5 stars out of seven for safety and 2.5/7 for 'product'.

For an intriguing first-hand report of flying on Air Koryo, read this account of Singapore aviation enthusiast Aram Pan.

Among Pan's observations is that inflight entertainment is limited to a single channel playing state-sanctioned dramas and documentaries – oh, and Air Koryu is pretty strict about checked luggage.

Pan travelled with a group of aviation enthusiasts, whose full trip is detailed here.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • itchyfeet


    15 Oct, 2014 07:42 pm

    This right here is the highlight of my day.

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  • driley28


    15 Oct, 2014 08:11 pm

    Fascinating article!  Definitely, not on my bucket list!

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  • Hugo


    16 Oct, 2014 08:59 am

    If it is on anyone's bucket list I recommend making it the last item. Just in case.

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  • RK

    Ryan K

    15 Oct, 2014 08:57 pm

    I flew with them from Beijing to Pyongyang in 2011. It was quite an experience! Flight attendants that wouldn't smile or look you in the eye. Soviet-era operas and communist propaganda were shown on the inflight entertainment screens - it was really strange. Taking photos on board was strictly prohibited and whilst the food was plentiful the quality was not good! If you can, put it on your bucket list, it's an airline like no other!

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  • romghost


    15 Oct, 2014 09:20 pm

    In contrast to cabin fittings, An-148 belongs to post-soviet era. As such, it's more or less contemporary aircraft itself. Small regional jet with passenger capacity alike to DASH 8 only faster.

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  • TheRealBabushka


    15 Oct, 2014 09:25 pm


    Good one David!

    Looking at these contemporary pictures really shows how absurd communism is as a philosophy. Which really drives home the fact that life on the eve of the 20th century must have been so F***ed up that people chose to embrace such revolutionary ideas.

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  • Colin Steven


    16 Oct, 2014 11:49 am

    Doesnt seem much different to any other LCC really :-)


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  • RK

    Ryan K

    17 Oct, 2014 09:32 am

    Except they're not actually a LCC. Free checked baggage and meals and drinks onboard. LCC's have a much better safety record though!

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  • Mike


    23 Oct, 2014 08:36 am

    Obviously there are no Aircraft fans on here. Must be all about the perks. I have yet to hear of an accident in recent times on this airline and judging by everything I have watched or read about this airline, the fleet is maticulously maintained and of course very low hours on these aircraft. 

    The inside and out looks spotless, and would put most respected airlines to shame I terms of presentation. 

    I intend to attend one of the aviation tours they run which enables you to fly around the country in all of the airlines fleet types. To have this opportunity to fly these old soviet birds is absolutely awesome and is a once in a lifetime experience.

    i have flown Ryanair, and beleive me, this looks 1000% better......

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18 Jul, 2019 01:15 pm


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