13 Feb 2015

'Nut rage' executive jailed

10:24 am on 13 February 2015

A former executive of South Korea's national airline has been jailed for one year for obstructing aviation safety during a row over nuts.

Heather Cho arrives for questioning at the prosecutors' office in Seoul in December

Heather Cho arrives for questioning at the prosecutors' office in Seoul in December Photo: AFP

Heather Cho forced a plane to return to the gate in New York last December and offload a steward because she did not like the way she had been served nuts.

Judge Oh Sung-woo said it was a case where "human dignity" had been "trampled upon".

Ms Cho has apologised and quit Korean Air, which is run by her father.

Her plane was taxiing at New York's JFK Airport on 5 December when witnesses say she became angry after being served macadamia nuts she did not ask for, and which were still in a bag and not in a bowl.

She ordered the plane to return to the gate and offload the chief steward.

Judge Oh said Ms Cho had treated the flight "as if it was her own private plane".

"It is doubtful that the way the nuts were served was so wrong," he said.

The judge said Ms Cho had failed to show enough remorse even after she submitted letters to the court apologising for the incident.

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