Final Verdict Is In On The Korean Air Nut Rage Case

Cannot believe that it is already three years since the daughter of the Korean Air Chairman and who was also Executive Vice President at the time had a “nut rage” incident on the ground in New York because crew member served nuts in a bag instead of bowl and had plane return to the gate to have him ejected.

Heather Cho

The highest court in Korea has had their say in this case and has upheld lower court ruling acquitting Heather Cho from the most damaging charge that would have carried up to 10 year prison sentence. Cho ended up spending five months in the jail in the spring of 2015.

Here’s an excerpt from the Korea Times (access the piece here):

The top court upheld a lower court ruling that acquitted former Korean Air Executive Vice President Heather Cho, Thursday, of the “nut rage” case three years ago that triggered nationwide outrage over the rich and powerful abusing their positions.

Cho is the eldest daughter of Chairman Cho Yang-ho of Korean Air, the country’s largest full-service carrier.

In the first 13-member full-panel ruling deliberated by the 13 Supreme Court justices including chief justice Kim Meong-su after he took the top post, the court said she did not violate aviation law by ordering the plane to change its air route, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

“The air route, the point of contention here, should be interpreted as referring to the aircraft’s course when it is flying, not when it is taxiing on the ground,” the court said.

“The lower court’s ruling was apt in making such a determination, and there was no misinterpretation of the law that requires a review.”


Proper service and following service standards set by the airline is important but she definitely did cross the line here and pilot also made a mistake by returning to the gate “while getting confused”.

Five months in a jail was probably adequate sentence for Heather Cho’s behavior.

I have never quite understood the cross shareholdings and complicated structures that many South Korean conglomerates have.

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