South Korean prosecutors are seeking to arrest the former executive at Korean Air who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts.
They are also investigating a current executive over attempts to cover up the "nut rage" case.
Seoul western prosecutors' office said that Cho Hyun-ah faces charges including inflight violence and changing a flight route. WORDS: PA
The current airline executive, a 57-year-old man surnamed Yeo, faces charges of pressuring airline employees to cover up the incident, according to an official at the prosecutors' office.
Cho, the daughter of the Korean Air chairman, earlier this month resigned as vice president at the airline and all roles from the airline's affiliates as public outrage mounted over her behaviour.
She forced a 5 December plane bound for South Korea from the United States to return to a gate and kicked off a flight attendant because the nuts were served in a bag, not on a plate.
Prosecutors launched a probe over the incident after a civic group filed a complaint against Cho. Last week, the transport ministry also reported her to prosecutors and said it will sanction Korean Air Lines for pressuring employees to lie during a government probe.
Chang Man-yong, a transport ministry official, said the ministry had asked prosecutors to investigate a transport ministry official suspected of leaking secrets about the ministry's probe to Yeo, the 57-year-old Korean Air executive.
The government official, surnamed Kim, worked at Korean Air for 15 years before getting a job at the transport ministry.
When as part of the ministry probe Kim questioned the crew member who had to leave the plane, Yeo, the executive facing the charge of trying to cover up the incident, sat next to the crew member, Chang said.
South Korean media reported that prosecutors raided Kim's house and office, but the prosecutors' office declined to confirm the report.
Cho, 40, and her father apologised earlier this month, but a new furore has erupted over Korean Air's attempt to foil government investigators.
The public was also enraged because the transport ministry let the Korean Air executive sit in during the questioning of the crew member and because a majority of the ministry investigators formerly worked at Korean Air, South Korea's largest air carrier.
Twelve things not to do on a plane
Arrest sought for Korean Air 'nut rage' heiress
If you want to return a beloved, deceased relation to their homeland, you'll usually have to pay repatriation fees. One way to get round these is to do what two German women allegedly did when Curt Willi Jarant, the women's 91 year old husband/stepfather died and they wanted to fly him home to Germany: bundle him into a wheelchair, stick some sunglasses on him and say he's 'sleeping'. Only trouble is, someone eventually noticed.
Ok, it's slightly annoying and uncomfortable when someone reclines their seat right back during the meal service, but it probably doesn't justify full blown fisticuffs, resulting in an F-16 fighter jet escort back to Washington and $50,000 worth of fuel being dumped, as happened on an American flight to Ghana last year.
It may be tough flying with babies, but if you cause a stink you could be in big trouble. One passenger who cleaned up her baby on a Qantas flight was held responsible for grounding a flight after cabin crew panicked about the 'strange smell'. The flight had to make an emergency landing at Mt Isa, where passengers say they had to be forklifted off the plane because the airport didn't have the facilities to disembark the huge Boeing 767. Not a good look.
Strange as it may sound, one Dutch passenger was caught trying to smuggle hummingbirds in his pants on a flight from French Guiana in September 2011. They were sewn inside his pants, each individually wrapped in cloth and taped up to stop them escape him. Not surprisingly, he was spotted fidgeting and was eventually arrested... lesson learned (we presume).
Tempting as it may be, shutting a toddler in with the hand luggage is a definite no-no. One flight attendant was sacked for doing just that on a Virgin Blue flight in 2011. According to mum Natalie Williamson, he came and put her son Riley into a locker and closed the latch. He claimed it was part of a game of peekaboo, but Natalie - and the airline - saw things differently...
You know how it is - you go on holiday, spot a cute monkey, think how sweet it would be to have as a pet...For most of us, the fantasy ends there. Not so the American woman who spent an entire flight home from Thailand with a drugged rhesus monkey strapped to her to look like a pregnant belly. Incredibly, she got through security back home in LA, and was only caught when she blabbed to a shop assistant, who informed the (slightly embarrassed) authorities.
It's far better to cross your legs - believe us. French actor Gerard Depardieu was thrown off a City Jet flight from Paris to Dublin last August for urinating on the plane. The aircraft was ready to take off when the actor asked to use the toilet - but he was told by staff to stay in his seat. He resorted to peeing into a bottle, much to the chagrin of cabin crew. When some spilled onto the floor, the crew alerted the pilot and the plane had to taxi back to the terminal, where Depardieu was escorted off the plane.
Anyone who has children themselves (or even just a smidgen of common sense) will know that throwing water on a screaming baby is not the best way to quieten it, but this was the approach American passenger Ronald Duffy chose on a flight to Brazil in 2004. He was almost lynched by fellow passengers, his visa was revoked, he was deported...and still the baby kept crying (probably).
It's not actually possible to open a plane's emergency exits when its in the air, but that knowledge would probably have done little to reassure passengers onboard a flight from Palma to Newcastle last year when a 22-year old man tried to pull open the plane doors at 36,000 ft, screaming 'it's ok, we're just on a flight simulator.' It took eight seat belts to restrain him and six police officers were waiting to arrest him when the plane made an emergency landing at Gatwick.
A recent survey found that one in ten Brits claim have joined the 'Mile High Club' by having sex in a plane loo - but it could get you into serious trouble, as one Australian couple discovered on a flight in Queensland in December 2011. The pair were caught in a compromising position in the plane toilet - and the man was promptly charged with offensive and disorderly conduct under the Civil Aviation Safety Act.
Despite the fact that smoking has been banned on aeroplanes for the last 15 years it didn't stop a Canadian family of three from lighting up on a flight to the Dominincan Republic. The plane was forced to divert and make an unscheduled landing in Bermuda and the other passengers had to spend the night in a hotel before continuing their journeys the next day. No prizes for guessing who the most unpopular passengers on that flight were!
It's no secret that most men find air hostesses rather attractive, but one 34-year-old man took his attraction a little bit far when he was caught taking pictures up the skirt of an airline attendant on a Japan Airways flight. He used a small, pen-shaped micro camera to take the photos and admitted that he couldn't help himself as he was "aroused by uniforms." However, he managed to escape criminal charges - because prosecutors couldn't determine exactly which part of Japan the plane was flying over at the time of the incident.
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Arrest sought for Korean Air 'nut rage' heiress
In 2010, a flight from Omsk to Vladivostok was grounded after one of the passengers started running around the plane naked. "The young man suddenly jumped off his seat, quickly took all his clothes off, and started shouting and darting around the cabin,” Siberian transport police representatives said. The man was taken to a clinic upon landing.
In May 2011, terrified passengers on board an Easyjet plane had to overpower a British man who twice tried to open a cabin door mid-flight at 35,000ft between Krakow, Poland and Edinburgh. Witnesses said the the man lunged for the door handle but was quickly tackled by staff and fellow passengers as the aircraft's pilots were forced to land at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.
In August 2012, two passengers threw a wobbly because their airline didn't have any X-L sized pjyamas. Their Qantas flight was delayed as air stewards tried to pacify the pair but they were so indignant that they refused to fly and demanded to get off the plane. Quite right too. There's nothing worse than ill-fitting jim-jams at 30,000ft.
A Thomas Cook flight from Manchester to the Canary Islands had to do a U-turn after a passenger became so agressive that he had to be pinned down by five people. The 50-year-old man, who appeared to have been drinking, apparently got into a violent argument with an elderly passenger - believed to be his father - and began swinging wild punches, witnesses said. The plane landed and the unruly passenger was immediately arrested.
In January 2012, a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Costa Rica had to be diverted because a couple from Germany reportedly refused to sit down unless they were given champagne. The pair, who were seated in first class, denied the incident, but the Delta Airlines captain took the precaution of making a diversion to Florida, where they were removed from the flight.
Even pilots have their moments, as we discovered from the JetBlue pilot who suffered a mid-air meltdown in March 2012 while in charge of a flight between New York and Las Vegas. Three hours into their flight, passengers were terrified when they heard him banging doors and running around the aircraft yelling about terrorism, and screaming: 'We're all going down!". The pilot had to be wrestled to the floor by passengers and locked out of the cockpit, and an off-duty pilot who was on board helped the plane make an emergency landing. The Jetblue pilot was later found not guilty of interfering with a flight crew for reasons of insanity.
Back in March 2012, one airline stewardess appeared to completely lose the plot when she started screaming about 9-11 and how the plane was going to crash. American Airlines flight 2332 from Dallas was taxiing along the runway when the attendant suddenly started screaming hysterically. Terrified passengers had to pin her down and the plane returned to base, where police arrested her, still kicking and screaming.
In July 2012, a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight faced legal charges after he exploded into an expletive-ridden tirade against a woman in front of him - because she wouldn't turn off her reading light. The 50-year-old man, who was on a flight from Honolulu to Bellingham International Airport in Washington, threatened to keep kicking the back of her chair is she didn't turn off the light.
In August 2011, passengers travelling to London from Moscow on a bmi flight got more than they bargained for when a drunk female passenger started performing erotic dances in the aisles. The Airbus had to return to Domodedovo half an hour after take off when the woman started "harrassing" passengers. The woman was subsequently removed from the flight and taken to hospital for medical tests. The airline said it had considered fining her for the delay...
A toddler meltdown led to an entire family being kicked off a flight from Boston to the Caribbean in March 2012. Collette Vieau's two-year old daughter Natalie started crying and refused to sit in her seat. Although the family eventually managed to strap her in, the JetBlue pilot decided it was unsafe to fly with her on board and the family had to disembark. As there were no more flights that evening, the family had to pay $2,000 for hotel accommodation and to rebook their flights...