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'World's worst airline' launches world's worst booking site
North Korean Air Koryo's online booking fails to take off
North Korea's national carrier Air Koryo, which has the lowest airline rating on Skytrax, has discovered the Internet.
The state-owned company -- regarded by some as the "world's worst airline" -- recently launched a bilingual website (www.airkoryo.com.kp) to provide travelers with "easier, quicker, reliable booking and ticketing services," according to Air Koryo.
Online booking is currently available on three routes: Pyongyang-Shengyang, Pyongyang-Beijing and Pyongyang-Vladivostok.
Based at the two-runway Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, Air Koryo is the only one-star carrier (out of five stars), among more than 681 worldwide airlines, on British aviation review site Skytrax.
According to Skytrax, the rating represents "a very poor quality performance" that falls below the industry average.
Booking is more difficult than you think
Air Koryo's new ticket booking system reinforces the company's less-than-brilliant reputation.
After multiple trials to book a one-way ticket from Shengyang to Pyongyang, we failed to secure any reservation. Instead, we ended up with this message day after day: “We cannot find any flights for your flight schedule. Please change your schedule and try again.”
Other users have also reported slow response speeds, availability issues and other errors, according to Britain's The Telegraph.
The Korea Times reported that Air Koryo launched its website about one month after the "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un carried out an unannounced inspection of North Korea’s main air hub Sunan International Airport in July.
Kim called upon North Korea "to catch up with international standards" during the visit.
More about Air Koryo
Air Koryo is equipped with a fleet of about 30 aircraft. Most are Russian-made planes, with some dating to the Soviet Union era. The carrier flies to 14 airports in six countries.
Beijing (three flights a week) and Shenyang (two flights a week) are among the most frequent destinations.
A business-class ticket from Pyongyang to Beijing costs around RMB 2,300 (US$374) on Air Koryo’s website, as reported by Chinese media.
Have you ever flown Air Koryo? Tell us your experiences.
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