Cho Hyun-ah, the Korean Air executive who lost her temper over a bag of macadamia nuts, is set to spend the next year eating prison food after she was found guilty in a Seoul court of violating aviation safety rules.
Cho, then head of in-flight services and the daughter of the airline's chairman, ordered a Korean Air flight to abandon take-off and return to the terminal at New York's John F Kennedy airport after becoming enraged with a steward for serving her nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate.
Judge Oh Seong-woo said Cho had "trampled on . . . human dignity" through her aggressive behavior towards staff during the incident in December, and had treated the airliner like a "private plane".
The incident provoked outrage and debate in South Korea, where it was seen as emblematic of the excessive power and sense of impunity that some perceive among the families that control the country's dominant chaebol business groups.
"This is an extreme case, but every day . . . there's a similar thing taking place," said Chang Sea-jin, a professor at Kaist College of Business. "The problem is the mindset of the founding families — their power is almost absolute."