Former Korean Air executive Heather Cho has been found guilty of breaking aviation law over the “nut rage” case.
Heather Cho, also known as Cho Hyun-ah, was jailed for one year, avoiding a possible maximum sentence of 10 years.
She had forced her Seoul-bound plane to turn back to the gate and offload a steward because she did not like the way she had been served nuts.
The case garnered global interest and caused an uproar in South Korea.
Heather Cho, who was a vice-president with the South Korean airline, was found guilty of obstructing aviation safety.
Her plane was taxiing at New York’s JFK Airport on December 5 when witnesses say she became angry after being served macadamia nuts she did not ask for and which were still in a bag and not in a bowl.
Cho Hyun-ah ordered the plane to return to the gate and offload the chief steward.
“This is a case where human dignity was trampled upon,” Judge Oh Sung-woo said on February 12.
Heather Cho had treated the flight “as if it was her own private plane”, Judge Oh Sung-woo added.
“It is doubtful that the way the nuts were served was so wrong.”
The judge said Heather Cho has failed to show enough remorse even after she submitted letters to the court apologizing for the incident.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of three years in prison on charges of breaking aviation law, assault and interfering in an investigation.
Witnesses testified during the trial that Heather Cho struck a crewmember with the service manual.
Her defense team argued that aviation safety had not been violated as the plane was still being pushed by a truck away from the gate.
However, the judge rejected that argument saying the plane was classed as “in flight” and she interfered, correspondents say.
Heather Cho, who is the daughter of the chairman of Korean Air, publicly apologized for the incident and resigned from all her posts at the airline in December.
The trial has opened a national debate about the Korean business system, which is dominated by family firms known as chaebols.
Some of the families running these businesses have been accused of high-handedness and acting with impunity.