Relaxed and smiling, Aijalon Gomes clearly looked happy to be heading home to the United States.
On the tarmac in Pyongyang, there was no sign of the man who reportedly attempted suicide after being sentenced to eight years in jail and a fine of 700 thousand dollars for illegally crossing into North Korea.
Former US President Jimmy Carter secured his freedom during what officials say was a private humanitarian visit.
State media in the North report that number two leader Kim Yong Nam has told Carter that Pyongyang is committed to nuclear disarmament and resuming six-way talks.
If true, this would be a clear statement of intent.
But there are many stumbling blocks, not least of which is the mysterious sinking of the South Korean naval vessel the “Cheonan”, which Seoul and the US blame on the North.
Coinciding with the former US President’s visit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il appears to have left for China. Such trips are always shrouded in secrecy but experts say by passing up a meeting with Carter for the trip, Kim is showing how much store he places in his economic and political ties with Beijing.