In an incident that has quickly been dubbed “nut rage,” Korean heiress and former Korean Air Lines Company executive Cho Hyun-Ah was arrested for endangering flight safety by delaying a plane — all because her in-flight snack of macadamia nuts was not served to her the way she wanted.
Apparently, the flight crew made the massive mistake of serving Cho her nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate.
On December 5, Cho Hyun-Ah forced the flight she was on to return to its gate in New York in order to remove the senior flight attendant who served her the nuts in the bag. Another passenger on the flight said that Cho assaulted and threatened crew members on the flight. And Park Chang-jin, the senior flight attendant who was forced off the flight because of Cho’s demands, said that he was insulted and forced to kneel before Cho. He also said that Cho poked the back of his hand repeatedly with the flight manual.
“People who haven’t experienced will not understand that feeling of being insulted and shamed,” the senior flight attendant Park Chang-jin said in an interview with South Korea’s KBS television network.
Park indicated that he felt he could not challenge Cho, as she is the daughter of the airline’s chairman.
Cho Hyun-Ah is, in fact, not just the daughter of the airline’s chairman. She and her two siblings were made executives of the airline and all its affiliates. The family’s direct stake in the airline is just 10 percent, the Huffington Post reports, but cross-shareholdings among the companies give the family effective control. Cho’s “nut rage” has touched an already raw nerve among South Koreans who are growing increasingly frustrated with powerful business groups, such as Korean Air Lines, that are controlled by families. The practice is known as “chaebol,” and it’s a practice that dominates Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
Cho was arrested last Tuesday night and placed in a detention facility in Seoul, along with a current Korean Air executive by the name of Yeo, who was allegedly pressuring the Korea Air employees to cover up the incident. In fact, according the the court, there have been “systematic attempts to cover up” Cho’s nutty behavior since the incident first began.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Cho will face several charges, including in-flight violence and changing a flight routine, which is prohibited under aviation law.
Cho, 40, resigned earlier this month as vice president at Korean Air and from all her roles at the airline’s affiliates. Cho’s father, Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-Ho, apologized publicly for his daughter’s “foolish act,” blaming himself for failing to raise her properly. Despite the resignation and the apology, though, the South Korean Transport Ministry vowed to sanction the Korean Air with a flight ban, which will most likely be implemented on the New York-Seoul route and could last for up to a month, according to the New York Post — unless the airline coughs up $2 million in fines.
Of course, sometimes it’s not passengers who behave badly, but the flight attendants. Click here to read about the United Airlines flight attendant who humiliated a little girl with special needs on a recent flight.
[Images via Yahoo! News and eatocracy.com]