Korean Air: The Nut Rage Incident

  • Reference: IVEY-9B15D017-E

  • Year: 2014

  • Number of pages: 10

  • Geographic Setting: South Korea

  • Publication Date: Nov 30, 2015

  • Source: Ivey Business School (Canada)

  • Type of Document: Case

  • Company: Large

  • Industry Setting: Transportation and Warehousing;

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Description

In December 2014, after receiving poor service on a flight, a senior vice president at Korean Air lashed out at the flight attendants and delayed the flight?s departure until the chief attendant was returned to the gate. Following a tepid apology from her father, Korean Air?s chief executive officer, her actions drew a public backlash because they exposed the sense of entitlement prevalent among rich family conglomerates in South Korea. How should she have reacted in the face of the service failure? Why had she become the target of a public backlash? What could Korean Air do to mitigate the negative effects of this incident?

Learning Objective

This case examines what managers should do in the face of service failures, and what firms should do when managers’ mistakes are leaked to the public. It is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students taking courses on service operations management, services marketing and crisis management.

Keywords

chaebols Customer service dynasty leadership public relations service gap