A Korean Airlines flight was forced to return to the gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last week after a company executive decided to kick the aircraft’s head flight attendant off the plane.
The incident arose after Korean Air executive vice president Heather Cho took exception to the way she was served macadamia nuts by a junior flight attendant, reported the Wall Street Journal.
According to the BBC, Cho was served the nuts in packaging instead of according to the proper procedure, which requires the cabin crew to inquire if the passenger would enjoy the snack, then serve them on a plate.
As MarketWatch explained, the executive then summoned the flight’s purser and proceeded to grill him on Korean Air’s food service procedure. Apparently unsatisfied with the purser’s response, Cho ordered the aircraft back to the gate, with the support of the pilot, so the crew member could deplane.
Cho, 40, is the daughter of Cho Yang Ho, Chairman and CEO of the
Hanjin Group, Korean Air’s parent company. She’s in charge of in-flight service and catering for Korean Air, as well as hotels for a Korean Air subsidiary.
Although the airline told Bloomberg Businessweek that the procedure to deplane the crew member took no more than 2 minutes, the Journal reports that takeoff for Seoul-bound flight was delayed by roughly 20 minutes.
Korean media is reporting that the country’s transport ministry is investigating whether Cho violated any Korean aviation regulations. According to Marketwatch, Korean aviation regulations state that an aircraft preparing for takeoff should only return to the gate if the pilots determine that there’s an emergency that would threaten the well being of the plane and its passengers. Violators could be subject to 10 years of jail time!
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