Korean Air’s shamed former executive, Heather Cho, has been arrested in Seoul as a result of her behaviour in the now infamous “nut rage” incident.
According to the Korea Times, the Seoul Western Prosecutor’s Office sought Cho’s arrest for “disrupting the flight schedule, assaulting two flight attendants, coercing them and disturbing their work.”
On Dec. 5, Cho forced a Korean Air Airbus A380 superjumbo jet, on which she was a passenger, to return to the gate at New York John F. Kennedy Airport due to her displeasure over being served macadamia nuts in its original packaging by a junior flight attendant.
Korean Air’s service procedure requires the crew member to ask if the passenger would like some nuts and then serve the snacks on a plate.
Cho then proceeded to grill the flight’s head flight attendant over the company’s service policies. Apparently unhappy with the crew member’s response, Cho ordered the airliner to abandon its place in line for takeoff and return to its gate at JFK to deplane the head flight attendant.
This manoeuvre caused the flight to be delayed 20 minutes and arrive at its destination in South Korea 11 minutes late.
The incident has caused outrage both in Cho’s native South Korea and in the West. Days after the incident, Cho resigned from her post as head of Korean Air head of inflight service and catering as well as her post in charge of the company’s hotel holdings.
To add insult to injury, Cho’s father — Korean Air and Hanjin Group chairman Cho Yang-ho — fired her from any positions with the company from which she had not already resigned. Before a crowd of journalists, the elder Cho apologised for his daughter’s behaviour and blamed himself for failing as a father.
The arrest is the latest episode of the once high flying executive’s downward spiral. According to the Times, Korean prosecutors took up the case after a probe by the Country’s transportation ministry lead to allegations that the younger Cho physically assaulted the pair of flight attendants and ordered senior managers to destroy incriminating evidence against her.
According to Reuters, a judge with Seoul Western District Court said in statement, “The necessity for detention is recognised as the case is grave and there has been an attempt to systematically cover up charges from the beginning.”
The disgraced former executive apologised once again as she was led away from the prosecutor’s office to the detention facility, reported Reuters.
Prosecutors have also issued a warrant for the arrest of a current Korean Air executive named Yeo for pressuring the airline’s employees to cover up the incident, reported AP.
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