JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, 39, lived out the dream of every trolley-dolly today after a passenger refused to remain in his seat upon arrival at JFK. When the disobedient passenger (possibly accidentally) smashed Slater in the head while pulling down his suitcase, Slater launched an obscene tirade over the PA system, pulled the handle for the emergency slide and abandoned the plane.
The contretemps unfolded as JetBlue flight 1052 from Pittsburgh landed at Kennedy around noon — on time — with a full load of 100 passengers and pulled up to the gate, said the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing but offered the following account: One passenger got out of his seat to fetch his belongings from the overhead compartment before the crew had given permission. Mr. Slater instructed the man to remain seated. The passenger defied him. Mr. Slater approached and reached the passenger just as he pulled down his luggage, which struck Mr. Slater in the head. Mr. Slater asked for an apology. The passenger instead cursed at him. Mr. Slater got on the plane’s public address system and cursed out all aboard. Then he activated the inflatable evacuation slide at service exit R1, launched himself off the plane, an Embraer 190, ran to the employee parking lot and left the airport in a car he had parked there. In a statement, JetBlue said it was working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate the incident.
Commenters at the above-linked New York Times story are nearly universally in awe of Slater’s action, even though he faces a possible seven year sentence for his action. Many are calling for JetBlue to reinstate or promote him. NBC reports that Slater was arrested shortly after the incident at his Queens home, where they curiously note that he “was found in a sexual embrace with his partner.” Huh? Anyway, cheers today to Steven Slater, one sky queen who’d finally had enough.