Korean Air 'rage' sisters resign. Company chairman, their father, apologises 'for everyone'

Hugh Fox
April 24, 2018

In 2014, Cho Hyun Ah, also known as Heather Cho, was jailed for five months for ordering a Korean Air plane to return to its gate at a NY airport after she was angered over the way a packet of macadamia nuts was served to her in first class.

She was a Korean Air vice president at the time and was sitting in first class aboard a Korean Air flight bound for Seoul when she was given macadamia nuts in an unopened package rather than on a plate, as per the airline's rules, The Washington Post reported.

She is also suspected of verbally insulting an employee at a Incheon-based hotel affiliated with Hanjin Group, Korean Air's parent company, and later having the worker quit for not recognising her. She then ordered the plane - already taxiing and carrying 250 passengers - to return to the gate and had the offending flight attendants ejected, according to the Washington Post.

Cho Hyun-min, the younger daughter who is marketing executive at the South Korean flag carrier, is under police investigation for assault after she was accused of throwing water into a man's face at a business meeting.

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In the wake of "nut rage", Cho Hyun-ah was sacked by her father and charged with obstructing aviation safety.

The customs office on Monday carried out a search of Korean Air Lines's headquarters over suspicions that the family members of Chairman Cho Yang-ho sneaked luxury goods into South Korea without paying duties.

Cho Hyun-min has denied she threw the cup at the employee's face, saying she pushed it toward the ground and neither of the victims have reportedly expressed the wish to seek a case against the heiress.

Cho Yang-ho also issued an apology for his daugters' behavior amid growing anger throughout South Korea against the the family-run conglomerates, known as chaebol, which dominate the country's economy. The incident is being called "water rage".

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"As chairman of Korean Air and as the head of my family, I feel crushed by the immature behavior of my daughters". His son, Cho Won-tae, remained as president of Korean Air.

"I am deeply sorry that problems connected to my family have anxious the people and employees of Korean Air", he said.

The company also plans to expand its Asia-Pacific routes in a joint venture with Delta Airlines by the end of this year.

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