Did you hear the one about the Jet Blue flight attendant?

According to [URL="http://abcnews.go.com/US/jetblue-flight-attendant-steven-slater-arrested-flight-jfk/story?id=11361298"]ABC News[/URL] :
[INDENT]At that point, the flight attendant got on the loud speaker, told those aboard to "go f*** themselves," grabbed a beer from the galley, deployed the [emergency] chute and ran into the terminal. His car was parked at an employee lot and he drove home.

[/INDENT]Apparently, this all happened at the end of a flight where the flight attendant had several bad encounters with people over overhead bags -- he had been cursed at several times, got caught in a shouting match between passengers, and then was hit in the head with a bag.

From what I am reading, it seems that one of the passengers was really upset about having to gate check their bag. I'm guessing this is somehow directly related to checked bag fees and people trying to avoid them.

Obviously, this behavior is unacceptable (even if it is kind of hilarious). But if the checked bag fee is resulting in people pushing the limits, getting angry, and being abusive, should Jet Blue reexamine their policies or procedures?

I keep waiting for the You Tube. Surely someone whipped out their fancy phone and recorded this.


  • 20 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I read one report that quite a few passengers actually applauded and cheered when the flight attendant snapped... apparently, the passenger that sent him over the edge had already rubbed a lot of people wrong that flight.
  • I do have to appreciate his style. Grabbing the beer and deploying the emergency inflatable slide is one heck of a way to leave work after a bad day.
  • I can't vouch for its authenticity, but here is a blog entry I just ran across on our @HRHero Twitter feed about the Jet Blue incident.


    However, I can vouch for its profanity. Fasten your seatbelts, and be forewarned that the flight attendant's alleged offensive language ::angryface:: hasn't been blocked out. tk
  • Sort of creepy how half the comments on that post are asking for an interview. I'm disappointed that he didn't have more to say about the actual show down.
    And Paul, I'm with you -- taking the beer and going down the emergency slide is a grand exit.
  • I can't decide whether the beer-and-emergency-slide exit is more fitting of James Bond or George Costanza.
  • CNN headline "Take This Job And Shove It Folk Hero". Oh boy. Maybe "grabbing a beer and deploying the chute" will become workplace lingo for when you need to leave the office because you just can't take it anymore.
  • I saw him referred to as a "folk hero" and even an "icon" for all the workers who are fed up with their jobs, bosses, and coworkers on different news casts last night.
    He should be making the rounds of the day and night talk shows soon . . .
  • ...and then he can get on the speaker circuit for the downtrodden about how to stand up for yourself....
  • More and more, I have seen news outlets and people being interviewed questioning the role of the passenger and if that person should face any charges. There are reports that the passenger repeatedly ignored "orders" to sit down. While we all know that people regularly pop out of their seats before they are supposed to in an effort to get off the plane 3 minutes faster than they would if they just stayed in their seats, I would think this would "officially" be a safety issue and even a "terrorism" sort of issue -- if we are playing things out to the worst possible scenario case, which has been used to charge the flight attendant with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment for deploying an emergency exit (and why wouldn't Slater have been charged with some sort of vandalism since he put the plane out of commission and it was quiet costly to repack the slide?).

    If the worst reports of the passenger are true, should he face charges also?

    I would be interested in seeing what sort of training on handling abusive customers JetBlue (or any airline) gives employees.

    Yesterday, there was an excellent (imo) post on the situation on Jet Blue Corp's blog. Read the post at [URL]http://bit.ly/a3Vioj[/URL]

    There is another insightful blog post here[URL="http://bit.ly/cSM6Yb"] http://bit.ly/cSM6Yb[/URL]
  • We decided to ask several attorneys in our [URL="http://employerscounsel.net/"]Employers Counsel Network[/URL] about the JetBlue flight attendant's notorious slide. The attorneys who weighed in were from New York City, Montana, Nashville, and Birmingham, Alabama.

    One of the attorneys who responded was actually on a plane at the time and had an interesting and humorous take on the situation. To see the blog post, visit [URL="http://bit.ly/bcPj9b"]http://bit.ly/bcPj9b[/URL].
  • I am very sympathetic to this guy, but no one can doubt that he over reacted. It's one of those things where you want to stand up and cheer for someone deciding not to take it anymore, even though you know that they are handling it wrong.

    Flight attendants are there for our safety and are representatives of the airline they work for, but that doesn't mean that they should have to take abuse. It seems like sometimes they are in a no-win situation. I have been threatened by one (implied that I would be arrested) when I tried to ask a question. I wasn't giving them attitude either, but they were clearly having a bad day and I assume felt too busy to waste time on me. My hubby and I sat in shock the entire flight at such abuse of power. It makes me wonder if mixed messages from JB had been going out to their attendants: Keep order, keep them happy, don't upset them, let them misbehave.

    Perhaps it is time to provide videos for proper passenger behavior (to go along with the safety videos). They could have them running on the TV's in the waiting area or on the screens on the plane before the flight. They could remind us that flying is stressful for some so we should all work on patience and respect for each other. Actually, we should have those kinds of videos running all the time everywhere, but airports are defintely a good place to start.
  • Last Thursday, about three responses before this one, Celeste commented on JetBlue's blog response to the whole Steven Slater tirade. Celeste has since written an interesting Technology for HR blog post of her own, analyzing how the company's response helped it to fly over the turbulence. tk

  • A good breakdown of the blog post. I think I am becoming a blog addict and may need help breaking from my addiction. Perhaps I should start a blog about it.
  • Don't be in to big of a hurry. This addiction of yours will no doubt soon be covered by ADA...
  • ... and also, therefore, the subject of HR Hero's next all-new web seminar, "ADA and Blog Addictions: What Nae Needs to Know Now." tk
  • I like it, so I might sign up. I just can't help thinking you might cover the material better in a blog format. :)
  • :back to topic:

    I read today (ok, it was a blog....so sue me!) a discussion on whether or not you would hire this guy after he gets his legal difficulties worked out. What about anyone who applied with you who had left their previous employer in a very noticable way?

    Do automatically put them all out of the running, automatically pull them in for being so bold, or is it a case of 'it depends?'
  • Slater has plead guilty and "accepted responsibility" for his actions. You can read about it all here [URL]http://bit.ly/9tuuAY[/URL].

    The thing I find most interesting is tucked down at the bottom of the story where they are conceding that Slater's behavior "might" "perhaps" has something to do with alcohol consumption that day. So the guy who was partially responsible for the safety of all these passengers was drinking while they were flying (how else could alcohol affect him at the end of the flight)? Shouldn't that be a bigger deal?
  • Did the story about his punishment make as many headlines as the story about his actions? I kinda doubt it.

    I can't help but wonder how many people, some with impressionable minds, who saw the original story and hailed him as a hero have seen how this all turned out for him. Do they still believe he got away with such a display of temper?

    I think it would be helpful, and perhaps prevent others from allowing themselves to self destruct, if they also were witness to him paying the penalty (light though it was) for his actions.

    Just my two cents.

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