The former Korean Air Lines vice president, who in December had an outburst because of the way she was given macadamia nuts on a flight was charged in violating aviation safety regulations Wednesday. Cho Hyun-ah, the 40-year-old daughter of the Korean Air Lines chairman and former a vice president of her father's company, kicked a flight crew member off a flight after she was served the nuts in a bag instead of a dish on Dec. 5. The outburst, and her orders to return the plane to the gate at New York’s JFK Airport, resulted in the flight arriving to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport 11 minutes late.
Following the incident, the media and Internet have referred to it as the “nut rage.” Other critics have said her behavior was the result of too much power.
Prosecutor Kim Chang-hee in South Korea said that the former Korean Air Lines executive’s actions was “threatening the safety of the flight and causing confusion in law and order,” according to the AP. She is currently detained and has been since Dec. 30.
The investigation has gone further to include other Korean Air Lines executives who may have become involved by tampering with evidence, according to the Washington Post. One executive, known as Yeo, allegedly ordered one report to be deleted.
Forcing a flight to change course can lead to a prison sentence of at most 10 years. That along with her other charges, including violence against flight crew, hindering a government investigation and forcing the purser off of the plane, can bring her up to 15 years in jail, the AP reported.
Hyun-ah resigned from her positions at the airline and she publicly apologized, along with her father, a week after the incident. She also said she would find the crew member she attacked and offer a “sincere apology.”