Wow. “Nut Rage” Airline Executive Jailed!

Cho Hyun-ah (Heather Cho), the former Korean Air Head of Cabin Service, who demanded staff kneel before her to ask for forgiveness over how they served macadamia nuts in first class, has been sentenced to one year in jail.  I must admit, I am surprised that it got this far!

Heather Cho leaves for a detention facility after a court ordered her to be detained, at the Seoul Western District Prosecutor?s office

On 5th December, 2014 Cho, the daughter of Korean Air’s Chair, ordered flight 86 back to the gate at New York’s JFK airport and had the chief steward removed from the plane.

A South Korean court yesterday found her guilty of:

  1. violating aviation law
  2. changing flight path and
  3. interference of operations.

One of the judges said that Cho was a passenger on the Korean Air flight and could not override crew members and give orders during a flight. He stated that “her actions threatened the development of the aviation industry and inconvenienced passengers”. 

Heather Cho resigned from her post as a vice president at the airline last December and made a public apology with her head bowed, saying she accepted “full responsibility.”

I am kind of flabbergasted at the decision to jail. After all, she has publicly shamed, has lost her job and apologised multiple times. Interestingly, the Prosecutors wanted three years not the one  year that she got. From the very beginning of the story of this incident, up to ten years in jail had been threatened so one year may be light.

What do you think? Excessive or Fair Punishment and deterrence?


Related Posts:

This week’s nutty incident

Tuesday Trip Report: Korean Airlines A380

Korean A380 in service



  1. No one was physically harmed. It seems excessive. Probation would have been more appropriate if that was an option.

  2. I think 1 year feels light. Violation of aviation law and interference of operations is rather serious. Chief steward could have pressed charges on other things abuse and so on, but due to culture and probably a lot of other types of pressure things didn’t shake out that way.

  3. Just because she is the Chairman’s daughter the penalty has been severe. If it was a typical business class passanget then she would have got away Scot free or maybe mildly reprimanded. I think the sentence is all nuts to appease to a larger jingoistic press and the public at large.Community service for a month or two would be just fine.

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