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North Korea’s Koryo Airline Tops The List Of World’s Worst Airlines Four Years In A Row, According to Skytrax Star Rating

by Ji Hyun Joo / Sep 03, 2015 11:15 AM EDT
Pyongyang Airport

There had recently been reports that the Internet room in North Korea’s new airport terminal lacked its most important feature — the Internet.

North Korea’s airline, Air Koryo, has now been ranked the world’s worst for four years in a row, according to the U.K. publication Express.

Air Koryo is reportedly the only carrier to have been awarded just one star in rankings released by the UK-based SkyTrax consultancy agency. The SkyTrax ratings are reportedly focused on service and not safety.

Some have disagreed with the title that the North Korean Airline is the world’s worst.

"It's a bit of a giggle, actually. They are clearly not the world's worst airline," said Simon Cockerell, of the Koryo Group, a Beijing-based travel agency that specializes in North Korea.

Air Koryo may have been given their title due to certain significant weaknesses it has. Cabin attendants reportedly tend not to speak foreign languages very well while there are no in-flight magazines.

As the planes are older, condensation from the cooling systems reportedly tended to dampen seats and drop on passengers, according to Cockerell.

“It’s not Emirates,” stated Cockerell, referring to Dubai’s Emirates Airlines, which received four stars.

“It’s not quite the flying experience people are used to.”

There is also a no-photography rule on the flights of Air Koryo, according to the news outlet FirstPost. Crumpling up a newspaper with the image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can also reportedly earn travelers with a stern lecture.

Despite its title, passengers shouldn’t assume that Air Koryo is not safe.

“I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen or heard any references to Air Koryo being unsafe, only that its service is terrible,” Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, said in an email to The Associated Press.

“Everything about North Korea is seen as a kind of running joke, so we should probably expect that its airline is seen this way too, right or wrong.”

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