Posco official targeted online for hitting flight attendant

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Posco official targeted online for hitting flight attendant

An executive at Posco Energy has come under fierce public criticism over the weekend for reportedly smacking a flight attendant on the head with a magazine because he was unhappy with the in-flight ramen.

Details about the incident spread among users of social networking sites, leading to outrage among members of the public, and calls for punitive action and a public apology from the company. Online community members also disclosed the alleged offender’s picture and title.

Once aboard a Korean Air flight from Incheon to Los Angeles on April 15, the man began his unruly behavior in the business-class cabin not long after takeoff, according to unconfirmed accounts published online.

He first demanded rice porridge and grew agitated when told the dish was not available. The ramen offered instead was apparently too salty and not cooked properly.

About an hour before landing, the board member then requested another bowl of noodles but became angry when it took “too long” to arrive and allegedly hit the flight attendant while complaining. He was also said to have refused to fasten his seat belt when asked to do so by the flight crew.

The pilot made a report about an unruly passenger to U.S. authorities upon landing, according to the online posts.

An FBI agent at the airport demanded that the passenger submit to questioning by U.S. authorities or return to Korea. He chose to return immediately.

For his part, the board member reportedly said that he did not hit the female attendant with a magazine but that she came nearby and accidently ran into a magazine he was holding.

Korean Air said it is now reviewing the incident and will decide what action to take early this week.

“Any action taken by passengers onboard that threatens safety, such as hurting flight attendants, is considered a very grave issue,” said an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We have confirmed all the facts in the incident and will reach a decision on our next action soon.” The official added there had been no apology made by the alleged offender as of yesterday.

Posco, the nation’s top steelmaker, has begun working to contain any potential damage.

“We are taken aback [by the growing negative public sentiment about the issue]. We will take appropriate measures once all accounts by both parties are reviewed,” a Posco spokesperson said.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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