'Nut rage' case: Korean Air heiress charged
SOUTH Korean prosecutors charged the daughter of the chairman of Korean Air Lines yesterday with delaying a flight following an outburst over the way she was served nuts, in a case that stirred public outrage and ridicule.
Heather Cho, a former executive of the airline and head of in-flight service before she resigned, had demanded the chief steward be removed from the flight at John F. Kennedy airport in New York, after another flight attendant in first class served her macadamia nuts in a bag, and not on a dish.
The Dec 5 incident, which the media has dubbed the "nut rage" case, has aggravated public resentment towards South Korea's powerful family-run conglomerates, called chaebols, which are seen as dominating the economy and contributing to a widening wealth gap.
Prosecutors said 40-year-old Cho, who has been held in custody by a court order since Dec 30, was facing charges of violating aviation security law and obstructing a government investigation.
The Airbus A380 which Cho was on had left the boarding gate but returned for the chief attendant to disembark. It arrived in South Korea 11 minutes late.
Deputy chief prosecutor Kim Chang Hee told reporters that Cho had disrupted the flight and "threatened the plane's safety".