Nowadays, Korea is gaining huge popularity throughout the world, because of its great service, food and music. Most of all, services in Korea are known to be cheap yet so proficient and for the same exact reason, many Korean airline companies are gaining favor.
In 1946, Korea’s first airline company, Korean Air, was established. Now, 72 years from its publishment, it is the world’s best performing airline according to the Air Transport World’s (ATW) annual World Airline Report.
However, the reality is: for great service to exist, lots of sacrifices must be made by the flight attendants.
“Being a crew member made me put the passenger’s needs above mine,” said Jiwon Yoon, a former crew member of a domestic Korean airline. “I had to stand through the whole flight, constantly walking around to make sure all the passengers were satisfied.”
Although this may sound reasonable at first, this is not quite the case. Numerous issues regarding inhumanization of crew members were outcried and recently, there has been a great outburst among the flight attendants, claiming that their rights were taken away.
A well known example of this outcry is the ‘nut rage’ incident of 2015.
On December 4th of 2015, a first class executive demanded the plane to go back to New York’s JFK airport so that the flight attendant responsible would be kicked off. The reasoning behind this person’s rage was irrational: the complimentary nuts the airline provided weren’t peeled beforehand. This incident came to a close when the executive was sentenced to one year in prison.
However, the situations are getting better. Currently, several of the korean airline companies are under the investigation by both the prosecution and the police, due to the outburst and other incidents since. Some of the companies are even in danger of losing their license.
As more and more workers of Korean domestic airlines are joining the protest against their companies, the government and the companies are going out their way to fix the problem or punish the wrongdoers. Although the protests have not led to many conclusive decisions, the ugliness behind Korea’s great service shows that despite the greatness, there is always a price to pay.
Christy Yoon, Grade 10
Mission San Jose High School