Over the weekend, a Korean businessman got into hot water when he complained about his in-flight meal on a trip to the United States. Apparently, he wasn’t satisfied with the taste of his ramen or with the service, and expressed his displeasure by assaulting one of the cabin crew. As a result, he was turned over to the FBI and prevented from entering the country.

Here’s what we know about this bizarre incident.

  • The man was a high-level official at a major Korean firm.

The incident took place on a Korean Air flight from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport to Los Angeles. The man is reportedly an official at Korea’s largest iron manufacturer, Posco. He was booked in the business class section.

The meal on offer that day apparently didn’t suit his taste, so the man called a member of the cabin crew to exchange it.

  • The man claimed the replacement ramen was too salty and only half-cooked. And then he attacked the crew member.

As a replacement meal, the crew member brought the man some ramen. This was apparently also not to his taste. He reportedly yelled, “Too salty and the noodles are half-cooked!” Then he struck the crew member across the face with a magazine.

  • On arrival, the man was turned over to the FBI and immediately sent back to Korea.

In addition to the assault, the man was reported to have been generally disruptive and rude. He claimed the crew had bumped into him, and also complained that it was too hot inside the plane. When a crew member offered him some ice water, he instead demanded a gin and tonic. When that made the crew member smile, he rudely said, “Don’t you laugh at me!”

When the incident was reported, the FBI was dispatched to meet the plane at the airport in Los Angeles. The agents took the man into custody, offering him to choice of being arrested and facing an investigation or immediately returning to South Korea. He chose the latter.

In response to the incident, Net users in Korea poured out their condemnation, saying, “That is just inexcusable,” and, “This is the company that says ‘your trust is our biggest concern’?” Parody images have also begun popping up and Korean netizens are trying to expose the man’s identity.

The Posco Group has published an official apology, but it appears the incident is not just going to go away.

Let this be a lesson to the ramen lovers out there: don’t let your passion for good ramen land you in hot water.
[ Read in Japanese ]