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Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Korean Air certainly has had its problems.  There was, of course, KAL 007 in 1983, which was shot down by a Soviet plane.  Physical evidence was not provided until the Cold War ended eight years later.

Second, Asiana Airlines, while still not as large as Korean Air, is now preferred (61%-39%).  I've flown Asiana quite a bit over the past few years and it is in my top three.  Can't say the same for United.

And now, the greatest insult of them all:  Air Nuts.  Say you are Heather Hyun-ah Cho (note, she is Americanized--having graduated from Cornell and the University of Southern California), a high level executive and 40-year old daughter of Korean Air CEO Cho Yang-ho, son of the founder.  While he did admit that he must have done a crummy job of bringing up his daughter, he is no angel himself.  He was convicted of tax evasion in the later 1990's and jailed for seven months.  

I'm quite familiar with Korean Air because, in the inimitable culture of Korea, they happen to sponsor Inha University, where I've lectured and conducted cooperative projects.  Click HERE for an interesting story of why Inha is a contracted combination of Incheon and Hawaii.  The country's first president, Syngman Rhee, started this university after living in exile in Hawaii.

Anyway, back to Heather, who a week ago was comfortably seated in first class on Korean Air 82 from JFK to Incheon.  Cabin crew chief Park Chang-jin serves her macadamia nuts in a bag.  In a bag, mind you.  Heather goes berserk, for her protocol, which is described in a service manual with which she pokes Chang-jin, is specific that a plate be used.  Now, this is after, in abusive language,  making him kneel before her after this outrageous act by Chang-jin.

All would have been well, I suspect, if Heather did not insist that the flight return to the gate to toss Mr. Park off the plane, and he was.  Of course, all this rage occurred on the tarmac and KAL 82 was only 11 minutes late on arrival in Seoul.  So what's the big deal?

That's my take on why, from her point of view, Miss Cho went nuts.  She resigned from all posts with her father's Hanjin chaebol.  But Heather will be back because she remains the prime heiress.  She has a younger sister Emily, who is a senior vice president with KAL, was born in Hawaii and graduated from USC (same as her sister).  That's Emily below, who has done some wonderful things for KAL:

Ah, but the story does not end with Emily.  Hawaii's:

     Mac nuts now all the rage

That's the headline in the Star-Advertiser this morning.  Love the rage part.  Hawaii was the first to commercialize macadamia nuts more than a century ago.  There are 700 mac farms here with annual sales of $38 million.  These nuts are gluten free and include antioxidants, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins and other minerals.  South Korea has virtually sold out of mac nuts there and are now buying out Hawaii.  All because of Heather Cho.  I once worked for the parent company of Royal Hawaiian Orchards.  Note the new natural products.


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