Readers must have heard about the case of Heather Cho, a senior Korean Air executive who, on a flight from New York to Seoul, was enraged when the purser (the flight crew chief) served her nuts the wrong way (in a bag and not in a dish) as the plane left the gate and headed for the runway.
She reportedly first made the purser kneel and ask for forgiveness. But even that was not enough. Maybe he knelt the wrong way. She ordered the plane back to the gate and forced him to leave the plane. It was only then that the plane took off. What made this particularly noteworthy was that the executive was the daughter of the Chair of Korean Air.
Initially, the company defended her action.
Korean Air backed up up the VP’s decision, saying in a statement released on Sunday, “The purser didn’t know the company’s procedures and ‘kept on making up lies and excuses.'” The airline said the plane was only 10 meters from the gate when the return demand was made, and noted the flight was only 11 minutes late arriving in Seoul.
But as the airline started to receive considerable ridicule in the media, the company reversed course and fired Cho, though they did not make her kneel during her public televised apology. What was interesting was that her father blamed her behavior on poor parenting on his part, saying, “Please blame me; it’s my fault. I failed to raise her properly.” But the father too was in the late 1990s involved in a tax evasion and embezzlement scandal and jailed for seven months. Maybe his father, if still alive, should also apologize.
The US is riddled with nepotism too, with many figures in politics and the media achieving their rapid rise aided by their parents’ connections. It would be nice to have the parents apologize when their children make colossal mistakes. Perhaps George H. W. Bush could start by apologizing for the monumental crimes committed by his son George W. Bush.