Cho Hyun-ah, famous for her nut rage incident at JFK, will avoid jail time after the South Korean Supreme Court upheld her suspended sentence.
In case you forgot:
Heather Cho, 40, was in a first class seat on a flight bound from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for Incheon, near Seoul, on Friday when she took issue with a flight attendant who handed her macadamia nuts in a bag and not on a dish, according to local media reports and an industry source.
Cho, a vice president at the airline, summoned the cabin crew chief to ask whether the flight attendant was following the in-flight service manual, said the industry official, who was briefed on the matter but declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
When the crew chief could not answer the question promptly, Cho ordered the crew chief to disembark, prompting the pilot to return the plane to the gate, the industry official said, confirming media reports.
She did more than order the plane back to the gate: she assaulted the FA (like the one pictured above) and faced up to 15 years in jail. In court she admitted to shoving the FA and throwing objects at her.
But in the patriarchal country of South Korea, it helps to be well-connected. Major industry in South Korea is run by a small oligarchy of ruling families, called chaebol. Cho is the daughter of the Chairman of Korean Air. There is no doubt she had the best counsel money could buy.
While she was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison, an appeals court shortened the term to 10 months and suspended the sentence. That court did not condone her behavior, but also ruled she did not violate aviation security law.
South Korean Supreme Court: No Jail Time for Cho
Appealed all the way to the nation’s top court, the Supreme Court upheld the suspended sentence. The decision cannot be appealed.
Thus, more than two years later this case finally comes to a close.
I ran into Cho at the opening of the new Intercontinental Wilshire Grand, a property owned by Korean Air. She was in the Club Lounge (not eating nuts). Hopefully she learned her lesson and will express her displeasure at poor onboard service in a more dignified way next time.
image: Korean Air