Korean Air Chairman, Daughter Apologize for 'Nut Rage' Incident

PHOTO: Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air, speaks to the media in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 12, 2014.Lee Jin-man/AP Photo
Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air, speaks to the media in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 12, 2014.

The Korean Air Lines Co. executive who delayed a flight in an incident dubbed "nut rage" bowed deep in apology Friday, expressing sorrow for bursting into anger when the crew served her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a plate.

Cho Hyun-ah, who was head of cabin service at Korean Air, ordered a senior crew member off the plane, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

"I sincerely apologize. I'm sorry," Cho said trembling in front of dozens of reporters before facing questioning by transport officials. The ministry is going to investigate whether her actions violated aviation safety law.

Dressed in a long black coat, heads down, she also made a deep bow saying she will meet that crew member to offer a "sincere apology."

Hours earlier Friday, her father, the airline's owner and chairman also made a public appearance for an apology with a deep bow blaming himself for not raising her better. He called her actions foolish but, "As chairman and father, I ask for the public's generous forgiveness," he said.

Cho's emotional burst over the correct way to serve macadamia nuts and eventually dismissing her staff off the plane caused outrage in South Korea. South Korean media and the public has been harshly negative, calling the 40-year-old executive a spoiled princess.

"This is a reflection of materialism at its height in our country. Just because she is rich and in place of power, she shouldn't have undermined the crew like that," said Suyeong Kang, 20, a college student in Seoul.

"Serving nuts in a plate couldn't be serious enough of a breach of aviation safety law to turn back the plane. She could have penalized him in a rational way, not yelling at him to get off the plane," said Eunsoo Cho, 25.

Public anger deepened after Korean Air Lines announced an apology for inconveniencing passengers but excused her behavior, saying the flight was delayed by just 20 minutes and the plane was about 30 feet away from the gate.

Cho has resigned from her executive role as the head of cabin service and from all other affiliated companies of Hanjin group that controls Korean Air.

ABC's Minjun Kim, Inyeong Kim, and Minkyeung Cha and the Associated Press contributed to this report.