America Celebrates Ranting JetBlue Flight Attendant

Steven Slater curses us out, captures our hearts

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America has fallen in love with JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who, after a tense confrontation with a passenger on a just-landed flight to New York, quit his job in the kind of style the rest of us can only envy. Slater went on the public address system, unleashed an angry rant on the entire plane, picked up one or two beers (accounts differ), pulled the emergency-exit chute, slid off the plane, and then went home to Queens, where he was later arrested on felony charges of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. Whatever Slater's passengers think of him, bloggers, perhaps recalling their own stressful days in service jobs, are cheering his dramatic exit.

  • Good for Him  Gothamist's Jen Carlson sympathizes, "To be fair, the passenger he was sparring with had been trying to get his bag from the overhead compartment before the plane was stopped—and that is pretty annoying. As if all of this didn't already make for the best job-quitting story ever—to take the edge off, Our Hero even had the forethought to grab two beers before exiting!"
  • Using the Big Orange Slide  Gawker's Maureen O'Connor comments, "Among the great disappointments of modern life is the fact that something as fun as a giant inflatable slide springing from the side of a massive flying machine exists—but may only be used in near-death situations, when one is least inclined to enjoy it. Today, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater came up with a better use for the giant inflatable slide: a dramatic exit."
  • The Tough Lives of Flight Attendants  New York Magazine's Chris Rovzar writes, "Last week in The New Yorker, David Sedaris hilariously examined the internal mental state of flight attendants, and revealed what many of them want to say to the passengers they serve. So it's fitting that this week we are treated to an incredibly humorous real-life manifestation of that inner rage. ... You know, it's amazing you don't read stories like this more frequently. You'd assume that, just as passengers periodically go berserk, so would flight attendants. The gathering of the trash with the bare hands alone would have a normal person on edge. And forget about having to wash your hands in those maddening faucets every day. Prediction: This guy becomes some sort of folk hero."
  • Great Escape  The Awl's Alex Balk writes, "I think even the most airline-phobic among us can sort of look at his great escape and offer a silent cheer."
  • Passenger From Flight Blogs His Experience  Phil Catelinet writes, "Just a little excitement on my flight today," going on to describe the episode in detail. Catelinet writes that Slater said over the intercom, "To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker: fuck you.  I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it."
  • Escalating Passenger-Attendant Hostility  The New York Times' Andy Newman and Ray Rivera call this "the latest round in what is seen as an increasingly hostile relationship between airlines and passengers. A few weeks ago, an Air France flight attendant was arrested for stealing the wallets of first-class passengers. Last year, a Canadian singer parodied United Airlines on YouTube in a series of songs about how the airline broke his guitar. A new study by the International Air Transport Association found an increase in instances of disgruntled passengers and violence on planes, with the chief cause being passengers who refuse to obey safety orders. By the same token, frequent-flier blogs echo with tales of 'flight attendant rage.' While JetBlue’s flight attendants are not unionized, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, Corey Caldwell, said anxieties were common on planes. 'Anyone who has traveled since Sept. 11 understands that being in the cabin is stressful these days,' Ms. Caldwell said."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.