Korean Air heiress Heather Cho, who demanded the removal of a flight attendant over macadamia nuts served to her in a packet instead of a dish, has resigned, according to an airline official cited by Reuters.
Heather, also known as Cho Hyun Ah, came under fire for causing a flight delay because of the incident.
The 40-year-old - the eldest daughter of Cho Yang Ho, chairman of Korean Air's parent company Hanjin Group - was executive vice-president of the family-run carrier, and was responsible for service standards.
She was flying first class on Friday when she yelled at a flight attendant who handed out a bag of nuts without asking whether the passenger wanted it or not. She called for the purser or chief flight attendant to check the plane’s service manual. When he failed to locate the guidelines on a tablet PC, she ordered him to deplane, the Korea Herald reported.
The plane, which was already taxiing towards the runway, had to return to the terminal as a result – causing an 11-minute delay in arrival.
While insisting it was “reasonable” for Ms Cho to have raised a problem with the in-flight service, the airline admitted that forcing the New York-Seoul flight to return to its gate to remove the senior crew member had caused an unreasonable delay, AFP said.
Ms Cho has been severely criticised in South Korean media, and the Internet is overflowing with indignant tweets over her actions:
— Alex (@AJH8494atGmail) December 9, 2014
— Seoul Village (@theseoulvillage) December 9, 2014
— Christine Kim (@ckim4789) December 8, 2014
@korearacing I've been hearing from well-placed sources for years how Heather Cho is very far from the most desirable person to work for.
— peter fisher (@mrpfisher) December 9, 2014