Korean Air Embarrassment

Unhappy with how she was served nuts, Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah ordered a senior flight attendant off the plane. According to The Guardian, the macadamia nuts were served in a bag rather than on a plate: 

"Cho Hyun-ah reportedly screamed at the flight attendant, who has not been named, for not asking her if she would like a preflight snack of macadamia nuts, and then for committing the egregious act of serving them in a paper bag rather than on a plate."


Korean Air tweet

Critics say this situation exemplifies how a few Korean "controlling families," according to The New York Times, "have long been accused of running their companies like dynasties." Cho Hyun-ah was the company's vice chair and is the daughter of the owner. She has since resigned from her position.

Korean Air may face legal action in addition to the embarrassment it has already suffered. Investigators will decide whether Cho Hyun-ah's actions caused a safety violation.  

In  a statement, Cho Hyun-ah said, "I am sorry for causing trouble to the passengers and the people. I seek forgiveness from those who were hurt by what I did." The airline also issued a statement:

"As of right now, we cannot make a value judgment on whether or not actions were warranted or not. Korean Air regrets if it caused any inconvenience to its passengers in delaying flight 086 for 11 minutes in order to deal with this personnel issue."

Discussion Starters: 

  • What else, if anything, should Cho Hyun-ah do at this point? What about Korean Air? 
  • What went wrong in this situation? Start with the service standards, and then discuss Cho Hyun-ah's behavior. 
  • The pilot took orders from Cho Hyun-ah. Assess his position in this situation. What options may have been available for him, if any?