Sunday, 27 September 2015

Is this the worlds worst airline


It’s been ranked the world’s worst airline for four straight years. But don’t let that fool you into thinking North Korea’s airline is unsafe.
It’s food may look dubious, it’s in-flight entertainment may not match current trends and its cabin crew may not speak your language, all good reasons why Air Koryo is the only carrier to have been awarded just one star in rankings released recently by the UK-based SkyTrax consultancy agency.
More than 180 airlines are included in the five-star ranking system, which is widely considered the global benchmark of airline standards.
Among many quirks that may help explain why Air Koryo has earned its singular distinction include flight attendants removing cameras from passengers who ignore the airline’s “no photography” rule and deleting the pictures.
Crumpling up a newspaper bearing the image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can also earn travellers a stern lecture, or worse.
However, some experts and frequent Air Koryo passengers disagree with the “world’s worst” title.
The airline is a definitely a unique ride, but fairly reliable, they say.
The SkyTrax ratings are focused on service and not safety.
Cockerell says Air Koryo’s weaknesses tend to be the kind of thing SkyTrax focuses on: cabin attendants tend not to speak foreign languages, there is no in-flight magazine, the meals aren’t going to win any awards and, on older planes, condensation from the cooling systems tended to dampen seats and drip on passengers.
In-flight entertainment is usually limited to the popular Moranbong Band girl group singing patriotic odes to the leader, or North Korean cartoons, shown on drop-down screens attached to the cabin ceilings.
On the less than two-hour hop from Beijing, there is a meal of sorts. It resembles a hamburger or something.
Its four-plane fleet of aircraft used on international flights is surprisingly new – acquired in 2008.
Lax practices, like not announcing when the plane was about to land or skipping the safety demonstrations before take off, were fixed long ago.
Air Koryo’s only regular international destinations are Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang in China and the Russian port of Vladivostok.
“I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen or heard any references to Air Koryo being unsafe, only that its service is really terrible,” Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author of the Ask The Pilot blog, said in an email before the latest ratings came out.
Smith noted that Air Koryo’s fleet is mainly Russian TU-204s and AN-148s, which may not be as comfortable or efficient as their American or European-built counterparts, but are not unsound.
In fact, getting its passengers where they are going – in one piece – might be Air Koryo’s strong point.

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