SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The Korean Air Lines Co executive who delayed a flight in an incident dubbed “nut rage” bowed deep in apology Friday before facing questioning by transport officials. Her father, the airline’s chairman, also apologised and said he regrets he didn’t raise her better.
The apologies came in response to simmering public anger about the incident and the airline’s handling of it.
Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air, was angered when a flight attendant in first class offered her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a plate. She ordered a senior crew member off the plane, forcing it to return to the gate at John F Kennedy airport in New York City.
“I sincerely apologise. I’m sorry,” a gloomy-faced Cho said before droves of journalists in an almost inaudible, trembling voice. She said she will meet the victimised crew member and “apologise sincerely”.
Clad in a long black coat, she lowered her face as she made the brief comments without making eye contact. It was her first public appearance since the Dec 5 incident. Transport Ministry officials had summoned Cho for questioning over the possibility her actions violated aviation safety law.
Hours before her apology, Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho also made a deep bow before journalists. He called his daughter’s behaviour foolish and said he regrets he didn’t raise her better.
“It’s my fault,” he said. “As chairman and father, I ask for the public’s generous forgiveness.”
Cho Hyun-ah’s actions caused uproar in South Korea and abroad. South Korean media called the 40-year-old a princess and some Koreans said she was an international embarrassment to her country.