SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea said Tuesday it will punish Korean Air with a flight ban or fines after the daughter of its chief executive delayed a flight with a tantrum over how some snacks were served, in a “nut rage” incident that caused a national uproar.
Cho Hyun-Ah, a former senior executive with the flag carrier, forced the chief cabin crew member off a New York-Seoul flight after she took exception to being served macadamia nuts she had not asked for – and in a bag, not a bowl.
“We plan to impose a flight ban or a fine against Korean Air,” the transportation ministry said in a statement.
The flight ban could last for up to a month on an unspecified route and the fine could be up to $2 million, it added.
The ministry will also “file formal complaints with the prosecution against Cho Hyun-Ah today” and ask them to open a criminal investigation, it said.
A ministry investigation found that 40-year-old Cho screamed and hurled abuses at a flight attendant and the chief purser during the incident on December 5, a breach of an aviation safety law.
The ministry also vowed to probe whether the firm’s “corporate culture” – criticised for being dominated by the whims of the owner family – posed any safety risk to passengers.
The case has sparked a wave of public anger in South Korea.