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Korean Air to face fine for ticketing fault

Korean Air, South Korea’s top air carrier, will be fined for a ticketing error to a Korean singer that violated the country’s aviation law, a Transport Ministry official said Thursday.

“The ministry plans to slap fines on Korean Air for violating the aviation security law,” said Lee Moon-ki, director general for aviation policy bureau at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Bobby Kim, a 42-year-old veteran singer, had booked a business-class seat from Incheon to San Francisco for his trip on Jan. 7.

A Korean Air official at the airport, however, confused Kim with another passenger with a similar name and gave the singer a wrong economy-class ticket.

Under the country’s aviation law, an air carrier that doesn’t fulfill its security program ― by ensuring correct ticketing procedures critical for flight safety ― is subject to a fine of up to 10 million won ($9,240).

“The amount of the fine will be decided after hearing Korean Air’s explanation and reviewing results of the current investigation,” the ministry official said.

The popular R&B singer, who is a citizen of the U.S., was probed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation when he arrived at San Francisco International Airport for allegedly sexually harassing a female flight attendant while intoxicated on the U.S.-bound flight.

According to the airline and witnesses at the scene, Kim inappropriately touched the female crewmember and hurled sexual insults after having six glasses of wine.

A spokesperson of Oscar Entertainment, the singer’s agency, said Kim started drinking heavily because flight attendants refused to change his seat to business class despite his persistent complaints about the airline’s mistake.

Incheon International Airport Police, which also began its own probe into the case, will question Kim when he comes back to Korea.

By Park Han-na (
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Korea Herald daum