SEOUL: South Korea brought a new “anti-nut rage” law into effect on Tuesday, prompted by an angry outburst by the daughter of Korean Air’s boss over a bag of macadamias.
The revised aviation law, which drastically toughens punishments on unruly passengers, was a direct result of the “nut rage” incident by Cho Hyun-Ah in December 2014, the transportation ministry said.
“The amended law reflects mounting public demand for enhanced aviation safety and the prevention of unruly behavior during flight following the Korean Air nut rage incident”, the ministry said in a press statement.
Under the new law, anyone who disturbs the pilot during a flight could face up to five years in prison or a 50-million-won ($41,000) fine.
In the past, the same offense incurred only a five-million-won fine without the risk of a jail term.
Under the new law, crew-members are obliged to hand over unruly passengers to authorities and risk a 10-million-won fine for failing to do so.
Cho, 41, served five months in jail before walking free in May last year after an appeals court overturned her conviction for violating aviation safety laws.
Cho was a Korean Air vice-president at the time of her meltdown on board a Seoul-bound flight that had just left the gate in New York.
As the plane was taxiing to the runway, Cho, sitting in first class, became enraged when a flight attendant served her some nuts in a bag, rather than on a plate.
She lambasted the chief steward over the behavior of his cabin crew and then ordered the plane back to the gate so he could be ejected.