When flight attendants shut the cabin doors on an airplane before takeoff, it’s unlikely they’ll open them again until the plane reaches its destination. That is, unless something goes wrong, and the plane is forced to return to the gate before taking to the air.
That’s what happened on Friday, when an executive aboard a Korean Air Lines flight bound from New York to Seoul had a service issue with a flight attendant. The problem? The flight attendant failed to serve macadamia nuts according to the airline’s in-flight service rules. Cho Hyun-ah, the airline's executive vice president, was sitting in first class and threw a fit, demanding that the flight’s purser explain the proper procedure for first-class food service. Unsatisfied with his lack of response, she insisted that he be removed from the flight. Cho, who also happens to be the airline chairman's daughter, resigned on Tuesday after the incident created an uproar.
This wasn’t the first time a plane has been forced back to the gate for a nutty reason. Below are some other examples.
An AirTran flight returned to the gate in Atlanta in 2010 when three young sisters traveling with their 2-inch pet turtle were told that the caged animal couldn’t ride in the passenger cabin. The kids ended up dumping the turtle in the trash, hoping their dad would save it. It was rescued by another AirTran employee and was reunited with the girls in Milwaukee, which it flew to in the cargo hold.
A US Airways flight leaving Atlanta aborted its taxi down the runway when maggots started falling down on passengers from an overhead bin. A passenger had stored spoiled meat in a carry-on bag, which housed the flesh-eating creatures. The plane was emptied out and cleaned before it took off for Charlotte an hour later.
Flight Attendant Meltdown
A flight attendant aboard an American Airlines jet headed to Chicago from Dallas began ranting a over the PA system about “technical difficulties” and the plane crashing, causing the plane to return to the gate and reload with a different crew. “Captain, I am not responsible for this plane,” the flight attendant reportedly said.
Words With Celebrities
Who can forget the infamous mishap with Alec Baldwin, who refused to turn off his cell phone aboard an American Airlines flight at LAX headed to New York? The actor was busy playing “Words With Friends” and became “aggressive” when the cabin crew told him to power off the device. The airline promptly kicked him off the flight.
When a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight bound from Los Angeles to London picked up a Wi-Fi hotspot called “Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork,” the plane returned to the gate so that authorities could investigate the matter. Los Angeles airport police later said that “no crime was committed and no further action will be taken.” The flight was rescheduled for the next day.
An El Al flight bound for New York from Israel returned to its gate for the best reason ever: To pick up a little girl with cancer. Inbar Chomsky, 11, was part of a group of 25 girls headed to a camp in New York for kids with cancer. Right before takeoff, Chomsky’s passport was misplaced, and the heartbroken young girl had to be removed from the flight. When it turned up in another camper’s backpack, the control tower gave permission to the pilots to come back and pick her up.