Korean Airline Executive Makes Plane Turn Back over Nuts

Heather Cho 1 photo
Photo: AFP
Executive vice president for Korean Air Heather Cho was traveling first class on flight KE086 bound from New York to Incheon, South Korea, when she lost her temper over the allegedly bad behaviour of one of the flight’s attendants. She ordered the plane to taxi back to the terminal in New York and had the crew member removed. The reason: her nuts were not served properly.
Heather Cho is not only the vice-president of the firm, but also the eldest daughter of company boss Cho Yang-ho. While the airline claims her trip was in fact part of testing the company’s services, local reports claim that she was actually a passenger at the time and might have acted wrongly. South Korean authorities are currently leading a local investigation to figure out whether Cho was wrong or not.

We’ll see whether her behaviour was against the law. It is an unprecedented case, so we need to see the related regulations,” a ministry official said, according to Korea Times. Even though the executive’s actions could have served to improve the quality of attendants’ service, officials say her actions were inappropriate.

According to the carrier and witnesses, a junior flight attendant offered her a bag of nuts before departure, Cho told him that he was not following the correct in-flight service manual - a flight attendant is supposed to ask passengers whether they will have nuts and to offer nuts on a dish rather than the entire bag. The executive director asked him to bring out the manual and, when he failed to find it immediately, Cho ordered him to get off the plane. She even shouted at the poor fellow.

At that moment, the plane was already about 30-40 meters onto the runway, but the aircraft still returned to the gate to drop off the chief flight attendant.

Making an airplane turn back while it’s on the runway would usually happen in case of technical problems or medical emergencies. The 250 passengers at board of the airplane got at Incheon International Airport 11 minutes later than scheduled.
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