‘Nut rage’ Korean Air exec jailed for a year

By Sophie Griffiths,

A former Korean Air executive who forced a plane to return to the gate after nuts were served in a bag rather than bowl, has been jailed for a year.

Heather Cho, who was vice-president of the airline, avoided a possible maximum sentence of 10 years.

Her plane had been taxiing at New York’s JFK airport on December 5 when witnesses said she became angry because she was served macadamia nuts, which she had not asked for, that were still in a bag and not in a bowl.

Witnesses also testified that Cho had struck a crewmember with the service manual.

She ordered the plane to return to the gate and offload the chief steward.

“This is a case where human dignity was trampled upon,” Judge Oh Sung-woo said on Thursday.

She had treated the flight “as if it was her own private plane”, Judge Oh added. “It is doubtful that the way the nuts were served was so wrong.”

The judge also said Cho had failed to show enough remorse, even after she submitted letters to the court apologising for the incident.

Cho, the daughter of the Korean Airline chair, publicly apologised and subsequently resigned from all her posts at the airline in December.

Prosecutors had requested a three-year sentence in prison on charges of breaking aviation law, assault and interfering in an investigation.

Cho’s defence team had argued that aviation safety had not been violated as the plane was still being pushed by a truck away from the gate.

Sourced by TTG Digital

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