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Frequent travelers know that there are certain airlines and products that are ideal to fly and, of course, there are some you’ll want to avoid. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to hear that North Korea’s Air Koryo has yet again been voted the worst of the worst — for the fourth time in a row.

According to SkyTrax’s most recent ratings, Air Koryo is the world’s only one-star airline. SkyTrax includes more than 180 airlines in its rankings and bases them on the direct and professional analysis of quality standards. Air Koryo’s low ratings are most likely attributed to the fact that travelers are used to seeing certain perks on planes and just aren’t accustomed to not getting the same type of experience. A lack of things we sometimes take for granted, like in-flight entertainment and flight attendants who speak English — coupled with the constant fear of being reprimanded for doing basic things like taking photos or for crumbling a newspaper adorned with the face of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — probably played a part in the carrier’s low rating.

A stealthy photo of Air Koryo’s cabin. Image by Daan van Rossum.

Last year, TPG Contributor Daan van Rossum flew on Air Koryo from Beijing to Pyongyang and reviewed his experience. While he noted surprisingly pleasant and efficient service for a one-star airline, he also said that in-flight dining consisted of a “hamburger” wrapped in cellophane, which he decided not to indulge in. Not to mention, the in-flight entertainment didn’t consist of today’s latest movie releases or TV shows, but instead showed two hours’ worth of military propaganda footage.

Two-star airlines (those that are one ranking above Air Koryo) include the likes of Spirit Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Bulgaria Air and SmartWings, among others. On the opposite end of the SkyTrax list are some common names, like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and ANA. But the likes of Singapore Suites and Emirates’ First Class are worlds away from Air Koryo’s metal.

Would you ever consider flying Air Koryo? Have you been on it before? Tell us about it in the comments, below.


Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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