Jailed ‘Nut Rage’ Korean Air Executive to Be Released on Appeal

The daughter of Korean Air Lines Co.’s chairman will be released from jail after an appeals court suspended her prison sentence for undermining a pilot’s authority in ordering a crew member to disembark over service of macadamia nuts.

The Seoul High Court on Friday handed Heather Cho a suspended 10-month sentence after rejecting an earlier ruling that she was guilty of changing the plane’s flight route, a court official said. Cho ordered the plane back to the gate in New York so she could eject the crew member she had scolded for offering her macadamia nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate in the first-class section.

Cho had been sentenced in February to one year in prison. The court said she has “done enough reflection and needs a new chance after changing her disposition,” the spokesman said by phone, asking not be identified in line with court policy.

Cho’s arrest in December followed a public outcry in South Korea after the incident re-ignited a long-running debate over whether the country’s vaunted chaebol, or family-run conglomerates, hold too much power and influence.

South Korean and overseas media dubbed the incident as “nut-rage.” Cho resigned from all of her positions at the airline and other affiliates during the public backlash. Her father, Cho Yang Ho, apologized to the public for his daughter’s behavior.

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