Part 1: Building An Asian Experience Around A(nother) Mistake Fare
Part 2: First Stop – Japan
Part 3: Off To The Chaos of China and North Korea
Part 4: Air Koryo Flight 252, PEK – FNJ
Part 5: DPRK The Arrival
Part 6: Statues And Souvenirs
Part 7: Homeward Bound
Part 8: Xi’an and Terra Cotta Warriors
Part 9: Myanmar, Land Of A Thousand Pagodas
Carrier: Air Koryo, Coach Class
Plane: Russian Made Tupolev, TU-204
Routing: PEK – FNJ
We arrived at the airport with a reasonable amount of time to check in and get really nervous. I learned that I was not the only one to consider bailing (given the political climate at the time) and that everyone else was a bit on edge as well (yet strangely energized and thoroughly excited.) There was even enough time before the flight to use my Priority Pass to access the shared lounge for a quick bite of dim sum before departure.
Boarding was uneventful, though as I arrived at my row, I realized that in all the excitement (terror) I had made a rookie mistake by not checking my seat assignment – a middle seat. I also quickly realized I was seated next to a North Korean. Yowza. Once settled, I took out my camera to see if I could snap a picture or two. The FA shook her finger at me and with visions of gulags racing through my brain, I quickly put it away. I did manage to snap a shot of the meal we were served.
For the most part, the plane interior itself was no different than domestic coach. There was a very strong smell akin to a car air freshener, and the cabin was very warm. No headsets were distributed because a very loud propaganda film would play to all (like it or not) throughout the flight. Halfway through, the North Korean to my right asked me where I was from. Thankfully, the American in my group seated to my left responded, as I could find no words to answer him. We landed at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport 1.5 hours later.