(AA) – The former vice president of South Korea’s biggest airline who became infamous worldwide as the “nut rage woman” was freed Friday – less than halfway into her original one-year prison sentence.
Seoul High Court acquitted Heather Cho of endangering safety by changing the route of a Korean Air flight from New York to Incheon last December.
The daughter of the company’s chairman had caught global attention after she was accused of humiliating her staff before take-off at JFK International Airport – because her macadamia nuts were not served according to first-class guidelines.
A senior flight attendant ended up being ordered from the plane, which had already left its departure gate, the u-turn causing a delay of more than 10 minutes for the hundreds on board.
In releasing Cho, the court took into account the fact that the aircraft had not left the ground, in addition to the well-being of her two-year-old twins, according to local news agency Yonhap.
The 41-year-old, also known by her Korean name Cho Hyun-ah, had her sentence reduced to 10 months and suspended for two years – as she was still guilty of violent behaviour against her staff.
Public opinion had called for the tough punishment of Cho amid criticism of the country’s elite and their conduct.
Another impact of the case was a local boost for macadamia nuts, which have become a common feature in South Korean convenience stores and supermarkets.