Korean Air CEO's daughter allegedly forced cabin crew chief to kneel, ask for forgiveness
Remember the Korean Air vice-president who kicked a cabin crew chief off a plane because of the way she had been served some nuts?
Well, it turns out that wasn't the only mean-spirited thing she did.
Prior to booting cabin crew chief Park Chang-Jin off, Ms Cho Hyun-Ah allegedly forced him and a female attendant to kneel and ask for forgiveness.
Ms Cho, who is the daughter of Korean Air’s chief executive officer, also called him names, pushed him into the cockpit door and jabbed him with a service manual.
These shocking claims emerged on Friday night during Mr Park's interview with Seoul’s KBS television station.
Ms Cho is already facing intense public backlash for forcing a plane to return to the terminal and ejecting the head of cabin crew on Dec 5 after taking exception to the arrival of some macadamia nuts she had not asked for, and to the fact they were served in a packet rather than a bowl.
The incident delayed the departure from New York by about 20 minutes. The plane arrived 11 minutes late in Seoul.
The 40-year-old woman resigned on Tuesday from all her posts at the family-run flag carrier.
She visited the homes of both staff members on Sunday morning to offer a personal apology, but neither was home so she left notes at their doors saying sorry, a company spokesman said.
Ms Cho has denied that she forced the pair to kneel.
“I’ve never heard such thing. I don’t know anything about it,” she said when reporters asked her to confirm the claims.
Another passenger who was sitting in first class on the flight confirmed most of Mr Park’s account and said she saw the two attendants on their knees.
“I felt so sorry for the flight attendants, who looked totally terrified at her,” the passenger told KBS after meeting with Seoul prosecutors on Saturday to give testimony over the incident.
Mr Park said in his interview with KBS that the incident had been deeply humiliating.
“You can’t imagine the humiliation I felt unless you experience it yourself,” he said.
“She said, ‘Make contact (with air traffic control) right now to stop the plane. I’m not going to let this plane go.’ How could I disobey the daughter of the owner in a situation like that?” he said.
He has also claimed that Korean Air officials had for the past week pressed him to blame himself over the incident. The airline declined to comment on the allegation.
The transport ministry and Seoul prosecutors have launched investigations into whether she breached aviation safety laws and caused disruption to business.
Korean Air CEO Cho Yang-Ho gave a televised press conference on Friday to apologise for his daughter’s “foolish act” and suggested he should share some of the blame for not bringing her up correctly.
“I failed to raise the child properly. It’s my fault,” he said.