Heather Cho, Airline Exec Jailed For ‘Nut Rage’ Incident, Gets Released

Heather Cho, the Korean Airlines executive at the center of last year’s “nut rage” incident, has been released from prison after serving only a portion of her original sentence, Business Insider is reporting.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Heather Cho created a ruckus on board a Korean Airlines flight getting ready to leave New York back in December of 2014. Ms. Cho, a senior executive at the airline and daughter of the airline’s CEO, was seated in First Class when a member of the flight crew brought her a bag of macadamia nuts. This didn’t sit well with Ms. Cho, enraged because a) she wasn’t asked first if she wanted them, and b) they were served in a bag instead of on a plate. For this unacceptable breach of protocol, Cho lectured the flight crew, then ordered the plane back to the gate to have the head of the crew removed from the plane.

Both Cho and her father issued public apologies for her behavior, according to Travel Pulse, and days later she resigned from her position.

The Korean government, however, considered her actions criminal. In February, a court sentenced Ms. Cho to one year in prison, according to CNN, saying that the wealthy executive treated the airplane, and its crew, as her own personal property and threatened the development of the airline industry, as well as interfering with a flight.

The case was major news in South Korea, with many Koreans believing that Ms. Cho’s behavior was emblematic of Korea’s wealthy and powerful elite treating the rest of the country with disdain.

On Friday, Judge Kim Sang-hwan decided that Heather Cho has learned her lesson and ordered her release, reducing her prison sentence to 10 months and then suspending it.


“The defendant would have had a chance to reflect sincerely on the mental anguish she caused in the victims during the five months she spent in the darkest place in society while in detention and away from family.”

The judge also noted that Cho had a clean criminal record prior to the “nut rage” incident and is the mother of small children.

Heather Cho’s legal troubles are far from over, however. The prosecution may still appeal the ruling, which could put her back in prison if a higher court judge agrees with the prosecution. She is also facing a civil trial from one of the flight attendants involved in the incident.

[Image courtesy of: Getty Images/Chung Sung-Jun]