Korean Air heiress appeals ‘nut rage’ conviction

February 13, 2015
Korean Airline ex-vice president Heather Cho (Korea Times file)

Korean Airline ex-vice president Heather Cho (Korea Times file)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The eldest daughter of Korean Air Lines Co.’s chairman on Friday appealed a court decision that found her guilty of violating air safety and other laws, court officials said.

Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of the nation’s top carrier, was convicted a day earlier of changing the planned route of a flight, intimidating and assaulting a flight attendant, and obstructing the business of the airline.

She was sentenced to one year in jail despite her repeated apologies to the judges, which she hoped would earn her a suspended jail term.

On Dec. 5, Cho ordered a senior crew member off the Korean Air flight headed to Incheon from New York because of the way she was served nuts. The plane had already been taxiing with 250 passengers on board. She said she was upset that her macadamia nuts were provided in an unopened packet rather than on a plate, which, according to the then vice president of cabin service, violated the proper nut-serving protocol.

The Seoul Western District Court in charge of the case said Cho’s attorney submitted an appeal Friday afternoon.

“The decision misconstrued facts and the principle of aviation law,” attorney Seo Chang-hui said. “We also believe the sentence is unjustified.”