A Seoul court today sentenced a former Korean Air executive to a year in prison for aviation law violations that stemmed from her inflight tantrum over how she was served macadamia nuts.
The court said Cho Hyun-ah was guilty of forcing a flight to change its route and two other charges.
Cho, the daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, achieved worldwide notoriety after she ordered the chief flight attendant off a December 5 flight, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. She was angered she had been offered macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a dish.
The court also found Cho guilty of obstructing the flight’s captain in the performance of his duties and forcing a crew member off a plane. It found her not guilty of interfering with a transport ministry investigation into the incident. Prosecutors had called for three years in prison.
Cho’s behavior, dubbed nut rage, caused an uproar in South Korea. The incident touched a nerve in a country where the economy is dominated by family-run conglomerates known as chaebol that often act above the law.