Is Steven Slater a Drama Queen?

Is Steven Slater a Drama Queen?


The untold JetBlue flight attendant story

The story is odd and rather weird: a ticked off JetBlue flight attendant gets on the aircraft’s public address system and unleashes a tirade of expletives before activating the plane’s emergency slide, snagging two beers and his luggage, and sliding away. JFK airport security misses the whole thing as Slater leaves the airport and simply goes home. Later, police apprehend Slater at his home where he is charged and later released after posting bail.

Viral Support

The overwhelming majority of people who heard about Slater’s antics are in support of his actions, but that was before new details emerged about this folk hero turned likely defendant in an incident which could land the JetBlue flight attendant a prison sentence. No matter what anyone thinks about Slater, he broke the law. He also put the safety of the passengers entrusted in his care in jeopardy by leaving the aircraft slide opened and unattended.

So, what is the story behind Steven Slater’s dramatic exit off of a just landed JetBlue plane at John F. Kennedy Airport on August 9, 2010? That isn’t completely clear as what is being said about Mr. Slater has gone viral with people hailing him for fighting back against a rude passenger before telling everyone to kiss off and fleeing.

It took more than 24 hours for Slater to raise the $2500 bail to get out of jail, but he has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief and given a court-appointed lawyer. Slater’s lawyers insists that the passenger started the chain of events leading to Slater’s unusual deplanement, hitting him in the head and cursing him out.

Another Story

But not everyone is buying Slater’s assertion. One passenger, Gregory J. Kanczes, told The New York Times that Slater had a gash on his forehead before plane took off, saying that it should have been bandaged. Slater claimed that the gash came as part of an altercation with a passenger, a woman who supposedly whacked the JetBlue flight attendant in the head as she attempted to remove her luggage from an overhead bin. Some reports claim the altercation occurred in New York while others have said it took place in Pittsburgh before the flight left for JFK.

Another passenger, Marjorie Briskin, told The Wall Street Journal that Slater started the ruffle when he shouted an expletive at a passenger who inquired about her luggage. “I didn’t think she was rude in the least,” said Ms. Briskin of the passenger. “It really blew my mind. It was so inappropriate.” Briskin confirmed Kanczes’ assertion that Slater had a gash on his forehead throughout the flight. At the end of the flight witnesses say that Slater was opening the overhead bins and slamming them shut, just before launching into his tirade.

Slater Talks

Slater may have jeopardized his case by telling reporters on Wednesday that for the twenty years he has been a flight attendant he daydreamed about opening an escape shoot. That fact will likely be used by prosecutors as they develop their case against him. Meanwhile, the name of the alleged passenger involved in the scuffle has not been released by JetBlue.

As a trained crewmember, Steven Slater may be charged for deploying emergency equipment when there was no emergency. At the same time, if a passenger did something wrong, then she should be charged too. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, Sec. 91.11 Subpart A— General, “No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”

No matter how this bizarre story plays out, lots of people will be capitalizing on the story with Gold’s Gym offering flight attendant Slater “…a free one-year membership to the gym location of his choice to help alleviate the stress in his life through exercise…” Yes, weird news certainly does attract attention from the unlikeliest of sources.

Photo Credit: Steve Brown


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".