"I kneeled before her": Flight attendant describes being shamed by airline executive

A Korean Air flight attendant has described being insulted and shamed by an airline executive who flew into a rage when he offered her macadamia nuts from a bag instead of a plate.

Cho Hyun-ah, who is the daughter of Korean Air's chairman, has resigned and apologised publicly over the 'nut rage' drama.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the flight attendant claims she ordered him removed from the plane and the flight returned to the gate at JFK Airport in New York.

Senior flight attendant Park Chang-jin told South Korea's KBS television network he and his colleague kneeled down before Cho after being confronted about the nuts.

Park said Cho yelled at the crew to "call right now and stop the plane. I will stop this plane from leaving."

News.com.au reports that when he returned to South Korea on a separate flight, five to six officials from the airline visited his home every day to ask him to tell investigators that Cho did not use abusive language and that he got off the plane voluntarily.

Cho apologised in front of dozens of journalists saying, "I sincerely apologise. I'm sorry."

Her father Cho Yang-ho also made a deep bow to journalists and called her behaviour foolish, regretting that he did not raise her better.

She has been questioned over the possibility her actions violated aviation safety law.

Celebrity inflight antics
See Gallery
"I kneeled before her": Flight attendant describes being shamed by airline executive

Back when this celebrity couple were loved-up and still together in 2008, they were spotted frolicking in a bed on a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to London. Sienna and Rhys's shameless PDA was reported in the Daily Mirror. They were reportedly seen kissing and play-fighting in the Upper Class cabin. Passengers then watched as Rhys pulled off his top and jumped into Sienna's single, 33-inch bed before they watched a film, ate dinner and Rhys went back to his own seat... aah, how romantic.

In February 2011, former Westlife singer Brian McFadden was marched off a Virgin flight from Los Angeles to Australia, allegedly for lighting up a cigarette and being under the influence of alcohol. He denied being drunk, despite fellow passengers claiming he drank heavily, shouted and was being abusive to everyone around him before he was restrained by Australian TV presenter Kyle Sandilands. Australian Federal Police confirmed that they were asked by Virgin to meet the flight on its arrival – but as there was no formal complaint made by the airline, and the singer was interviewed and released without charge. He later tweeted: 'Wasn't arrested! Didn't smoke on the flight. And the Virgin staff were very nice. I did have a few drinks but I was not smashed and abusive. If reports were true then I would have been arrested, fined and wosrt (sic)! Banned from my favourite airline V Australia. Storm in a tea cup.'

Singer and actress Courtney Love was famously arrested at Heathrow Airport for "endangering an aircraft" back into 2003. According to the Daily Mail, she verbally abused crew members, and the crew said she refused to sit in her seat and put her seatbelt on. Police went on board and spoke to Love in the Upper Class cabin. She was taken to the airport's police station and later released with a caution for causing harassment, alarm and distress. As she left Love said: 'I cussed at a lady - my daughter always said I had a potty mouth.'

Being told off is something most teenagers are used to but when Justin Bieber was labelled a "security risk" by a Qantas flight attendant in May 2011 for acting like a child, it wasn't the reception the star usually receives. According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, Bieber was said to have left his seat in business class on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne and decided to go for a walk as the plane was taxiing. The flight attendant ordered him and his bodyguard to sit down and told him that he'd be treated like a child if he acted like one. He later apologised after she told him to respect her workplace.

Singer Whitney Houston was almost kicked off a Delta Airlines flight in October 2011 when (in true diva style) she refused to buckle her seatbelt before the plane took off in Atlanta, Georgia. After being warned that she would have to leave the flight, the singer eventually allowed a flight attendant to do it for her and the plane was cleared for take-off. Phew!

Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was famously banned for life by one airline for his behaviour.  Cathay Pacific made the drastic move after he allegedly abused crew and passengers on a flight to Australia back in 1998. Passengers complained that Gallagher smoked, swore and threw objects at them and staff on the flight from Hong Kong to Perth. In 2001, Gallagher was again in trouble with an airline when he reportedly humiliated a member of British Airways staff at Gatwick Airport by touching her bum, prompting a police investigation.... 

The singer allegedly once kicked off at her niece in an air rage rant after her flight taking her from Tokyo to Scotland was delayed. In another incident, she had a mid-air meltdown on a night flight from LA after pulling out of America's Got Talent and was singing and crying during the flight, stopping other passengers from sleeping. Most recently in November 2011, Susan Boyle reportedly spent most of a 26-hour flight to Australia crying and arguing with her crew. Business class passengers complained about her behaviour during what was her first journey trip to Australia.

In 2006, TV legend David Hasselhoff was allegedly banned from a British Airways flight for being drunk. The Baywatch star was due to fly to Los Angeles from Heathrow but was said to have been staggering around, mumbling to people and even tried to pick up a shop worker at Heathrow Airport. He reportedly downed bottles of beer and shots of whisky as he waited for his flight and told BA staff he was upset about divorcing his wife of 16 years. Hasselhoff wasn't aggressive and when he was told he couldn't board the plane, agreed with the staff.

French actor Gerard Depardieu made the headlines in August 2011 when he was removed from a CityJet flight from Paris to Dublin for urinating on the plane. The aircraft was still on the ground and preparing for take-off when Depardieu asked to use the toilet but was told by staff to stay in his seat. He was then said to have stood up and took to the aisle to pee in a bottle. He later said that he had been desperate to go to the toilet after drinking a litre of water before boarding the plane. He offered to clean up any mess but was still thrown off of the flight!

In Decmber 2011, actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off a plane for using his mobile phone before his American Airlines flight took off. The star of 30 Rock complained on Twitter that an attendant had "reamed me out" for playing a game on his mobile phone, sparking a huge furore between the actor and the airline. American Airlines said he had been loud and abusive, while Baldwin claimed all he had been doing was playing the game Words With Friends. The saga continued when he appeared on US TV show Saturday Night Live dressed as an AA pilot and made a spoof apology, airline flight attendants. 

In 2008, Naomi Campbell was banned from flying with British Airways over a row about her lost luggage. The supermodel, known for her fiery temper, flew into a rage when one of her bags wasn't put on the Los Angeles-bound flight. She reportedly swore at the captain and ordered him to bring her her bags. Campbell was asked to leave the flight but refused and three police officers arrived to remove her. After a violent struggle, she was handcuffed and marched off the plane by police and later released on bail after spending several hours at the police station. Getting between a fashionista and her bags? That was never going to end well!


Related articles

Flight attendant sacked for threatening to throw coffee over passenger

Family thrown off flight after flight attendant slapped

15 flights from hell
See Gallery
"I kneeled before her": Flight attendant describes being shamed by airline executive

We've heard of vomiting bugs in hotels and cruises but rarely on a plane. On a flight from Chile to Sydney in August 2013, 26 passengers became violently ill with gastroenteritis after celebrating at a festival in Brazil and picking up the bug before boarding the plane. Some of the passengers were taken to hospital once the plane landed in Sydney and the plane had to be quarantined and disinfected upon arrival. This is one flight we're really glad we weren't on as the Boeing 747-400 only had eight toilets and the group developed vomiting and diarrhoea.

When you're on a long (and pricey) trans-Atlantic flight, the one thing you don't want to happen is for the plane to run out of toilet paper. Unlucky for passengers on a United Airlines flight from London to San Francisco in June 2013, the toilets ran low on tissue after the airline forgot to restock its supply. The passengers were forced to use cocktail napkins instead of loo paper when nature called and were allegedly told to use what they had brought on board for the 10-hour flight. That's one way for an airline to find itself deep in poo!

We all hate flight delays and even a few hours can leave us peeved, but holidaymakers on a Monarch Airlines plane from Tenerife were stranded on the Canary Island for a whopping 50 hours in August 2012 when their plane suffered a fault. The crew discovered a problem with the door hatch and asked passengers to get off the plane and wait for three hours. They then spent another hour on the plane before being put up in a hotel. A replacement plane eventually flew them to Birmingham.

When a pilot accidentally locked himself in the toilet of a New York-bound flight in 2011, he ended up causing a mid-air 'terror' panic too. When a well-meaning passenger heard the pilot trying to get out of the loo, he offered to help. The pilot asked the man to go to the cockpit and inform the crew of the situation, but the co-pilot was completed spooked by the man's "thick Middle Eastern" accent and refused to let him in, calling a state of emergency. Fighter planes were alerted at the arrival airport and the co-pilot was told to "just get on the ground". When he managed to break out of the toilet the pilot assured air traffic control that there was no threat. But the FBI still waited to meet the plane when it landed and spoke to the poor passenger who just wanted to help.

You won't want to watch this video if you can't stomach a scary take-off. The pilot of a Russian aircraft seemed undeterred by taking off in a swamp and wasn't going to let a bit of mud get in his way. Just when you think the flight will only end in disaster it manages to take off. We've seen a few crazy take-off videos but we're really thankful we weren't on this plane!

If you're a non-smoker, you won't be able to think of anything worse than a smoker lighting up a cigarette next to you on a flight. Three Canadian passengers on a Sunwing flight did just that in February 2013 - even though smoking has been banned on aircrafts for more than 15 years. And what's more, they refused to put their cigarettes out and ended up diverting the flight, which was travelling from Halifax to the Dominican Republic, to Bermuda. When the plane landed, their passports were seized by police, while the other passengers continued their journey.

Sometimes you hear about passengers who randomly start screaming and making threats to fellow travellers but we never want to come across a pilot who has a mid-air meltdown. A JetBlue pilot flying a plane from New York to Las Vegas in March 2012 began yelling about terrorism, Al Qaeda and a bomb on board. He ended up being wrestled to the floor by passengers and was locked out of the cockpit. Luckily there was an off-duty pilot on board to help the plane make an emergency landing and once the plane landed, the pilot was put on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

Terrified passengers on board an easyJet plane had to overpower a man who twice attempted to open a cabin door mid-flight at 35,000ft. The man, in his 40s, became agitated during the flight from Krakow to Edinburgh and started pacing up and down the aisles while clutching onto a flight safety instruction card, which detailed how to open the exit during an emergency situation. He then put on his rucksack and lunged for the door handle before being tackled by cabin crew and passengers and forcing an emergency landing at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

There are times when the pilots are up against nature and have absolutely no control over a situation, such as when lightning strikes. In January 2013, a Turkish Airlines flight carrying 114 passengers was struck by lightning. A passenger filmed the incident, which saw sparks from the plane's engine as it caught fire and the cabin lights flickering on and off. Fortunately, despite the plane catching fire mid-air, it made a safe emergency landing and no-one was injured.

In June 2013, a man on a United Airlines flight from Hong Kong to New York told flight attendants he had "poisoned everyone on board". There was no indication that anyone had actually been poisoned but imagine having to spend the rest of a long-haul flight wondering if someone had tampered with your airline meal. FBI agents waited to meet the flight as it landed and the passenger was restrained by fellow travellers after making the claim.

One emergency landing is enough but could you handle two on one flight? That's what "terrified" passengers on a British Airways flight from Saudi Arabia to London endured in August 2013. First the plane was delayed for five hours and in the air for about 40 minutes before making an emergency landing because of a problem with the plane's wing flaps. Then the next day when the passengers boarded the same plane, the problem reoccurred and the flight was aborted a second time. Passengers were reportedly "physically sick and crying" during the landings as the plane had to circle the desert to dump around 20 tonnes of fuel to be the correct weight to land safely.

We never knew breakfast on a plane could be so dangerous but 12 passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight to London suffered minor injuries when the plane suddenly plunged 30 metres during their morning meal. Passengers posted photos of the messy scene on social media sites, with breakfast trays strewn all over the floor and coffee splattered on the ceiling. The plane was hit by turbulence during the food service two hours into the flight and medical personnel attended those injured on arrival at Heathrow Airport. The passengers received a box of chocolates as they passed through arrivals.

If the sound of babies crying on a flight is disruptive enough to your journey, you certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York, which saw an "unruly" passenger repeatedly sing Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. We've watched the video and the woman is no Whitney Houston! She ended up being handcuffed and removed from the flight - but not before putting the other passengers off Whitney's music for life!

If you thought snakes on a plane was just something from a horror film, you were wrong. In October 2012, cabin crew on a flight from Cancun to Scotland were shocked to find a stowaway snake hiding under the passenger seats. The 18-inch snake was found as the plane landed at Glasgow Airport: it had managed to travel 5,000 miles unnoticed. Animal rescuers believed it was an American smooth-scaled racer, which isn't venomous but can bite, and that it had hitched a lift in someone's hand luggage.

Thought a naughty child kicking your chair was bad? In August 2013, 30 adults created the flight from hell when they ran riot on a Ryanair flight from Prestwick to Ibiza, swearing, threatening and even sexually harassing crew in front of other holidaymakers, including families with young children. The men were warned by police about their behaviour before boarding but this didn't stop their drunken rampage, which saw them shouting and jumping on the seats too.


Korean Air Executive Resigns Following Nut Incident

Korea Air Nut Row Apology
Read Full Story