A Korean Air executive has resigned from some of her duties after she ordered a flight to be turned around to the gate and a flight attendant off the plane because she was served nuts in a bag instead of on a plate.
Heather Cho, whose Korean name is Cho Hyun-ah, resigned Tuesday from the airline’s catering and in-flight sales business, and its cabin service and hotel business divisions, an airline spokesman said.
Korean Air Flight 86 bound for Seoul was just pushing back from the gate at New York’s JFK airport. The flight attendants were passing out light snacks and beverages while the plane was taxiing. However, Cho didn’t seem to like how the macadamia nuts she received were given to her.
The incident occurred Friday at New York’s JFK airport on a flight due to take off for South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, outside Seoul.
Cho reportedly demanded that the plane go back to the gate so the crew member who served her macadamia nuts out of a bag rather than on a plate in First Class could be kicked off the flight.
Although her role put her in charge of in-flight service, she was only a passenger on this flight and was not flying in an official capacity.
According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, Cho is the eldest daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, Cho Yang-ho.
As a result of the delay, the plane arrived a full 11 minutes late in Incheon. (Yep, I know what you’re thinking: 11 minutes.)
The incident rapidly became a national cause célèbre, with the nation dividing deeply and bitterly. For some, Ms. Cho was just being a perfectionist, rightly insisting on upholding the standards of service that customers of Asian airlines in particular have become accustomed to. For others, she was a stuck-up, overbearing princess with a point to prove about her own importance who needed to be taken down a peg or two.
By the way, Heather Cho’s father, Cho Yang-Ho, who is the president of the airline, just accepted her resignation, according to reports. It’s also possible that she may face criminal charges if aviation regulations were found to have been violated.
News source: CNN