Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin has reportedly pulled a power trip – called “gapjil’ in Korean -- on a Korean Air flight crew. The term gapjil refers to the abuse of power by someone against a person in a weaker position.
The incident occurred on Nov. 16, when Seo tried to call his employees sitting in the economy seat into a bar reserved for first-class passengers to hold a meeting. When the flight crew stopped the employees due to airline regulations, Seo allegedly started to lash out against the flight crew.
According to reports, Seo allegedly insulted the flight attendants and even made belittling comments against a female flight attendant’s looks. The Celltrion chairman also showed discomfort to the flight staff that he was not receiving treatment equal to what he had paid for to fly first class.
Seo even made the flight attendant recook his ramen three times, in a threatening manner.
After the news broke out, however, Celltrion immediately issued a statement claiming that the reports were not accurate.
Although admitting that Seo tried to take his employees to the first class bar lounge, the company claimed that Seo and the employees left the lounge without a fuss.
“After finishing the meeting, Chairman Seo and the flight attendant talked about in-flight regulation,” the company said. “Seo stressed to the employee that he did not think to hold a meeting at the first class bar lounge was a violation while the flight attendant explained that such behavior was against the airline regulations.”
In the process of sharing opinions, the conversation tone might not have been pleasant, but unlike the reports, there was no use of harsh rhetoric or profanity, the official added.
The company also noted that employees at the scene commented that they had an amicable conversation with the flight crew afterward and did not think it would become a problem.
The same employees remarked that Seo did not make any negative comment against the female flight crew.
Celltrion also refuted claims against Seo making the flight attendant recook his ramen. “Seo ordered an instant noodle as a substitute for dinner. After Seo said it was undercooked, the crew members offered to recook the meal,” the official noted. “There were no additional reorder requests.”
In the official statement, Chairman Seo also said that he did not correctly understand the airline's regulations, and will do his best to abide by them in the future.
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