Korean Air CEO's daughter apologises over 'nut rage'

2014-12-14 10:29
South Korea's Korean Air plane sits on the tarmac at Gimpo airport in Seoul. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

South Korea's Korean Air plane sits on the tarmac at Gimpo airport in Seoul. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - The daughter of Korean Air's CEO visited a cabin crew chief Sunday to apologise for kicking him off a plane over the way she was served some nuts, as allegations emerged that she forced him to kneel and ask forgiveness.

Cho Hyun-Ah, a top executive at Korean Air, resigned on Tuesday from all her posts at the family-run flag carrier in the face of an intense public backlash and escalating investigations by state authorities.

The 40-year-old forced a New York-Seoul flight to return to the terminal and eject the head of cabin crew on December 5 after she took exception to the arrival of some macadamia nuts she had not asked for, and to the fact they were served in a packet rather than a bowl.

Cho, sitting in first class, forced cabin manager Park Chang-Jin and a female attendant to kneel in front of her, calling Park names, pushing him into the cockpit door and jabbing him with a service manual, according to his account of the incident.

Cho visited the homes of both staff members on Sunday morning to offer a personal apology, but neither was home so she left notes at their doors saying sorry, a company spokeswoman told AFP.

Cho has denied that she forced the pair to kneel. "I've never heard such thing. I don't know anything about it," she said when reporters asked her to confirm claims made by Park in an interview with Seoul's KBS television station broadcast Friday night.

Another passenger who was sitting in first class on the flight confirmed most of Park's account and said she saw the two attendants on their knees.


"I felt so sorry for the flight attendants, who looked totally terrified at her," the passenger told KBS after meeting with Seoul prosecutors Saturday to give testimony over the incident.

Park said in his interview with KBS that the incident had been deeply humiliating.

"You can't imagine the humiliation I felt unless you experience it yourself," he said.

"She said, 'Make contact [with air traffic control] right now to stop the plane. I'm not going to let this plane go.' How could I disobey the daughter of the owner in a situation like that?" Park said.

He has also claimed that Korean Air officials had for the past week pressed him to blame himself over the incident. The airline declined to comment on the allegation.

Cho's behaviour sparked huge criticism in South Korea, where she has been accused of being petty and arrogant, and prompted the transport ministry and Seoul prosecutors to launch investigations into whether she breached aviation safety laws and caused disruption to business.

Korean Air CEO Cho Yang-Ho gave a televised press conference on Friday to apologise for his daughter's "foolish act" and suggested he should share some of the blame for not bringing her up correctly.

"I failed to raise the child properly. It's my fault," he said.

The incident, which has been branded "nutgate" on social media, delayed the departure from New York by about 20 minutes. It arrived 11 minutes late in Seoul.

Read more on:    south korea  |  avaiation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.