South Korea toughens punishment for disruptive air passengers
Those who harass a pilot or crew inflight face up to five years in prison
Planning to throw a tantrum on a plane?
Don’t do it in South Korea. (Well, anywhere.)
The South Korean government has announced it’s increasing punishments for unruly air passengers.
The move follows a 2014 air rage incident in which a former aviation executive threw a fit over how her macadamias were served while flying first class.
The revised aviation law, effective Tuesday, is part of an effort to increase aviation safety and prevent dangerous passenger behaviors, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Monday.
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Those who harass or interrupt a pilot and crew members during a flight will face up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $41,300, up from the previous penalty of $4,130.
Drunken passengers who disturb or abuse others could be fined $8,260, double the previous amount.
In 2014, 354 reports of inflight incidents were reported.
As of October 2015, 369 cases of midair disturbances had been reported for the year, according to the transportation ministry.
According to the new regulations, captain and crew members who fail to report violators to police after landing could face up to $8,260 in fines.
How bad are ‘air ragers’?
Research has shown that passenger anger is costly.
Inflight outbursts or disturbances not only threaten the safety of passengers and crew members, they can force airlines to divert flights and shell out vouchers to appease customers and handle complaints.
Heather Cho resigned as vice president at Korean Air a few days after creating a scene over her snacks then publicly apologizing.
Cho had the chief steward removed from the flight after the plane had left its gate at New York’s JFK Airport, causing the flight to arrive 11 minutes behind schedule.
The daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, Cho was originally sentenced to a year in jail in February 2015.
She served nearly five months in prison before Seoul’s High Court reduced the sentence to 10 months, then released her on two years’ probation.
CNN’s K.J. Kwon contributed to this report.