Cho Hyun-ah, the eldest daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, was found guilty of endangering flight passengers after ordering a plane to return to the gate and ousting a crew member because — get this — she didn’t like how her nuts were served.
According to BBC, on a Dec. 5th New York-to-South Korea flight, witnesses say Cho became angry after a steward served her macadamia nuts in a bag, not in a bowl like she asked. (Oh, the humanity!)
She was so outraged, she ordered the plane (which was already on the runway and poised to take off) to head back to the gate at JFK Airport. Cho demanded that the chief steward, Park Chang-jin, be expelled from the flight.
Cho, according to witnesses, “shamed and insulted flight attendants by shouting, throwing a service manual and forcing them to kneel before her,” The Telegraph said. Thanks to her nutty outburst in the First Class cabin, the flight experienced an 11-minute delay.
A South Korean court found Cho guilty of violating aviation safety law. “The court also found Ms Cho guilty of obstructing the flight’s captain in the performance of his duties and forcing a crew member off a plane,” The Independent wrote.
Cho might be spoiled, but she won’t be rotting in jail for too long — she escaped the maximum nine-year sentence. Instead, Judge Oh Sung-woo sentenced the South Korean airline heiress to just one year in jail.
The Seoul judge said that Cho treated the flight “as if it was her own private plane,” as per the BBC. “It is doubtful that the way the nuts were served was so wrong,” he said.
Her father, Korean Airlines chairman Cho Yang-ho, apologized for his daughter’s behavior and said, in court, that he “regrets that he didn’t raise her better.”
The light sentencing spurred outrage in South Korea, where the economy is “dominated by family-run conglomerates,” Reuters UK said. “Many are fed up with the rich and powerful escaping punishment for bad behavior.”