Korean Air’s former head of in-flight service Heather Cho, who was jailed for an outburst over macadamia nuts, has been freed after winning a court appeal.
Heather Cho was jailed for a year in February but the court on May 22 ruled she should serve a suspended sentence.
However, the appeal court ruled Heather Cho, also known as Cho Hyun-ah, did not cause a change in the flight path.
The court gave Heather Cho a reduced sentence of 10 months and suspended the prison term for two years.
She remains guilty of using violence against flight attendants.
On December 5 last year, Heather Cho became angry while onboard a Korean Air flight in New York after she was served macadamia nuts which she did not ask for, and which were still in a bag, not in a bowl.
She confronted both the flight attendant who served her and chief steward Park Chang-jin about the presentation, at one point jabbing Park with a service manual.
Heather Cho then ordered the plane, which was taxiing at JFK Airport, to return to the terminal to offload Park Chang-jin.
She had been in custody since she was arrested on December 30. In February she was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail.
One of the judges on the appeal panel said on May 22 that they had taken into consideration that she was a first time offender.
“It appears that she will have to live under heavy criticism from society, and stigma,” he said.
The case attracted intense attention in South Korea, reopening a national debate about the Korean business system, which is dominated by family companies known as chaebols.