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08/09/2010

JetBlue flight attendant arrested after disturbance at JFK

Police have arrested a flight attendant after he fled the plane following an alleged confrontation with a passenger.  He then used an emergency chute as the JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh landed at JFK International Airport.  Share your thoughts with us on this story.  Click comment below, and don't forget to include your name and location.  Your comments may appear on Eyewitness News!

Flight attendant 4 
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Comments

Art

What a jerk. I hope he's fired, fined, and prosecuted. That should wipe that smirk off his face. What he did was totally unprofessional and potentially dangerous. As a commercial airline pilot for 29 years, I appreciate the job that flight attendants do, and abuse that they often receive. If he gets his job back and I was a JetBlue Captain, I wouldn't let him be part of my crew. Who knows what he'll do the next time he's having a bad day. If he's a "hero", this country is in sad shape.

Candy Malaspina

I believe that society has lost control of the meaning of respect. Especially while on planes, people do not respect flight attendants, nor do they realize the importance of their jobs. They are there for our safety and not merely to hand us drinks. I can understand Mr. Slater's emotions but I do not accept his behavior! Mr. Slater could have handled the situation with less of an outburst. Whether he was hit in the head or not, he could have merely reported the incident to the proper authorities and let them handle it. Using the plane's chute was going way to far.
I also am outraged by the fact that people are sensationalizing his notariety. This only exemplifies and enriches society's magnitude towards bad behavior! Bad behavior begets bad behavior. If Mr. Slater wanted to put an end the disrespect he was receiving, he should not have acted disrespectful himself. By swearing (as he supposedly did) and by using the chute, he was being disrespectful himself. thereby, he was snowballing the whole problem. Now people are treating him like a hero. Why? because he sensationalized the bad behavior? This will never put an end to society's problem of bad manners and disrespect! Show people how things are to be handled - in the proper method, using the right channels.
His own mother gave a fairly decent comment, but she was almost laughing while discussing a most serious situation that her son is in!
I think 7 years in jail is a little harsh. But I DO indeed think Mr. Slater should be punished for HIS bad behavior!
Candy Malaspina

Vin

A big fat, ugly Zero. But I do hope his mother recovers.

FrequestFlyer

After reading through all the comments, the verdict is...Steven is right. As a frequent flyer, I too, am in complete agreement with most of your readers. Although I'm a businessman, I do not subscribe to the moronic notion that the "Customer is always right". I don't beleive in kissing smelly feet.

That lady, whoever she is, obviously knows that what she did was wrong...otherwise, knowing how strongly Americans generally react to their "rights" if wronged, surely she would have given a press statement of sorts to make it clear that SHE was the victim and not Steven. In my opinion, her silence is a quiet admission of guilt.

She, along with other recalcitrant flyers, must be warned of such inappropriate behavior. In fact there should be some sort of pax scorecard that tracks abusive pax and a kind of "demerit system" whereby a pax is reminded of the possibility of getting blacklisted where he/she might be barred from flying with that particular airline for a certain period.

So...wihout prejudice and without knowing the full story, my support is to Steven. Best of luck, buddy.

Lovina

First of All Steve Congrulations! For Doing Such a Daring Thing in Life! Lots Of Lucks and Wishes From my side,in our day to day life we snap out its normal! Don't worry be Happy!

Mike

Bravo Steve! What's wrong with this picture? A no good b**** of a woman violates FAA regulations curses out a crew member, assaults him, and he gets arrested. The prosecutor is a complete moron! Reckless endangerment, is he kidding me? This guy checked and made sure nobody was outside near the exit before he pulled the latch. Well that's NY for you. The NY government thinks this is a police state, rule with an iron fist. Full body scanners being installed in all three airports next month. Not one word being said about the health dangers, just the privacy issues. For all you frequent flyers out there, you better think twice before you go in those scanners. There are alot of government people that are going to make millions off of these machines, which is why they are keeping it hush hush.
TSA should do the right thing and post signs at the security check point informing the public of the possible dangers. Then it would be each indivduals choice which is how it's supposed to be in America.

Karen

He did what probably everyone in a " public service job" would like to do I'm a nurse . I know ! The woman passenger who disrespected him AND FAA rule should have the book thrown at her! Forget everything else, she violated the FAA laws and basically could have potentially put ALL the passengers in danger. He tried to enforce their laws and was told to "F OFF " ? She's the one with the issues and disregard for law and disrespect for her felow passengers. I, for one would like to see Jet Blue ( who I love) bar her publicly from ever boarding their aircraft again. Ahh! How sweet it is !

antoinette braeder

This man will become a legend to all flight attendants - I was a 'gallactic glamour'/'trolly dollie' for many years and what he was suffering from is known to us as 'people fatigue'- how many times would I have liked to get away from some dreaded passengers this way - well done!

Jeannie

While I am a strong believer in personal responsibility and I do not condone, Mr. Slater's alleged actions, Mr. Slater has my complete empathy. If I am not mistaken, I believe that the New York State Department of Transportation published a statistic in December 2009 that stated Nassau County New York allegedly has the highest number of road rage fatalities in all of New York State!!!!!I In short: rudeness kills!

Peggy

I was so sorry to hear Steven had to go to jail. I feel the woman who didn't obey the law should have been arested. I hope Jet Blue gives Steven a break and comes to his rescue.

Ricky

Not a hero nor a zero just human. But where were the other two crew members? and why Steven did press charges against this woman? After 20 years on flight duty, in my opinion, He should've had handle things differently. From one fellow flight attendant, I only wish you the best.

robert j lee

The taxi point of the flight becomes a horse race to be first out the door. During that time all you heard is people clicking open their safety buckels. even as the attendants are on the intercom telling people it can be dangerous to be out of their seats while the plane is taxing.

Richard

This douchebag definitely needs to be prosecuted. He's supposed to be a professional. He allegedly has 20 years of experience in this field and his parents have experience in the airline industry also. Hasn't he learned anything about security since 911? He needs to be banned from the industry and prosecuted. He's no hero, folks. Don't be stupid like him. He's an idiot. Now grab a beer and slide down the slide!!!

Crystal Mills

Why did the media not emphasize the fact that the unruly passenger visciously and intentionally hit Steven in the head with her luggage and gave him a concussion? Why wasn't she arrested? Is Jet Blue putting money before humanity?

Crystal Mills

We have to take notice to the ever increasing enraged society of today. There's a lot of misdirected anger. Especially in New York City.

Crystal Mills

My hats off to Steve! I don't know if I could have been so gracious. I've driven a bus for New York City Transit Authority for more than 23 years. People don't seem to realize every human being has to be a human being at some point and not hold back because of rules. Employers should acknowledge this and compensate for the sake of humanity, and people should be taught that just because they paid for a service, they're not entitled to misbehave in someones place of work. Bus Operators in New York have been killed. I think if people were taught to show some respect when they enter a work establishment there would be less situations like this one. I hope Steve gets a better job.

Tom

I totally support him ! I do think he went a little overboard by going out the emergency door, but I dont know how long I could stay calm with someone who was clearly an abusive and assultive person. Im wondering if there are any charges against the women who struck him ? The Queens DA needs to look for a better charge and leave this guy alone.

Jackie Copeland

I am not saying he's a hero, but he is human and that element has been displayed loud and clear. If the airlines would stop nickel and diming passengers for everything outside of a seat, maybe this particular incident would have not happened. I experienced the same situation last week where two passengers were arguing over space in the overhead bin. One passenger's bag was clearly too big and in trying to force her bag in the overhead bin, she smashed the smaller bag that was already there. The industry is greedy and some of the passengers are rude and inconsiderate wich makes for a lose, lose situation.

william smith

go ahead steve slater, do what you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU NEED A REALITY SHOW!!!!

Dianne

Neither hero nor zero, but human. I don't know why people think it is okay to attack those in service industries without any provocation, like it a right or something. Respect is a two-way street. In this case, the passenger had no respect, no class and should have been arrested too or maybe even instead of the attendant.

Reiki

I know that working directly with the general public is a lot more difficult than most people realize. Many people think that they are entitled to whatever they want and are completely selfish and childish about going about getting it. It is exceptionally difficult at times to keep your head in these situations. Slater was certainly in that "situation". That being said, it is just as childish and selfish for him to have acted out the way he did. Quitting and then having a beer is a proper response if done correctly. Grandstanding your exit paints you with the same brush as the perpetrator. Slater is not a hero nor is he a villain. Both the passenger and he should be severely reprimanded and sent on their way. Enough!

mac

I wish I could do what he did...Some people are very rude and dont have any consideration for others...Im wondering how come the passenger wasnt arrested he/she started the whole mess...Why does the flight attendant should be punish when he was doing his job, working with the public is very stressful you have to deal with many different individuals....I wish Mr. Slater the best and I hope he doenst lose his job just because an ignorant passenger...

Roseann Conway

Can anyone tell me where the female passenger is that started this mess? She violated FAA regulations by a) Interfering with the duties of a crew member b) not obeying safety regulations by unfastening her seatbelt before the aircraft came to a complete stop and finally, jeopardizing the safety of other passengers. This type of persona has no understanding of boundaries or limitations. TOTALLY DISRESPECTFUL. SHE SHOULD BE BANNED FROM ALL FUTURE FLYING ON ALL AIRLINES!

People just DON'T like to follow rules and regulations. These rules are FAA regulations. She had no right to curse at Steven while he was doing his job. If an FAA official was on board and Steven did not react
he would have been in trouble also. I applaud Steven. Passengers should respect the flight crews. They are there for SAFETY.
STEVEN YOU ROCK!

Marcia Julian

He is my newly found hero! We all have our day. I hope he is not fired!

Eileen Bittmann

Flight attendants have a tough job. People are so rude at times. He had every right to ask that person to sit back down. I don't think he should go to jail, he really didn't hurt anyone and the scene could have been worse. He could have punched out the person, instead, he chose to walk away, or slide away. What about the person that started all this, I haven't heard anything being filed against them for not obeying airline rules.

Arlene Scott

The passenger didn't follow order, she or he who ever should have been arrested.

Greg

Why is it that nobody knows the name of the rude passenger? When is the public to blame? Why is it always the person that is finally pushed to their breaking point that we love to blame? It's "us" we need to blame "us" and I for one feel that this is rediculous that the public has no idea who this rude passenger is?

Doreen Cardillo

I was recently on a flight from Denver to NY and these Flight Attendants certainly earn their pay. Passengers sit where they choose to even though their original seat is on the boarding pass. I saw this Man snap his fingers at a flight attendant for another drink. I would like to see these passengers attempt to move a cart through this small aisle with such demands being made on them. These type of passengers are rude and disrespectful. The best of luck to you Steven Slater. We are only Human. This Passenger should have been arrested.

Robi

He's my Hero. The passenger broke rules of the FAA and assaulted the flight attendant in the process, but he got arrested????? How come the passenger who started this incident was not arrested upon deplaning by JFK Police????
Although, what happen is unfortunate, He should not have been arrested for doing his job!

Buz

Arrest the passenger that started all this. I am a frequent traveller and the stewards/stewardesses do their best to keep everything flowing smoothly.

If someone stands up during taxiing they are at fault, not the steward. We all loose our cool sometime. Give this guy a break.

Same thing when people are just chit chatting or their cell phones after door has closed, the staff are doing their job when asking you to turn of your phone. I have seen abusive words used by passengers here as well.

Bonnie

None of this would have happened if this passenger had stayed in her seat as instructed.Flight Attendants must enforce FAA regulations or face a personal fine by the FAA. This passenger should be banned from flying any U.S. commercial airlines!I certaintly don't want her on any of my flights!I know how Steven felt...been there.I know of other flight attendants who have had nervous breakdowns on the plane,triggered by an incident with a passenger.Steven just needs a mental health leave of absence and some counselling.. NOT JAIL!! Good Luck Steven,flight attendants all over the country are behind you!

Anthony

I would like to say this the # 1 rule in aviton is safety. steven is a victim of circumstance here not only was he trying to do his job while the aircraft was in motion he was injuerd by a passanger to make matter worse he lost it by going off and oping the emergecy slide to make a grand exitin a matter which was unbecoming of a perfional.

As a result of his actions he was arestt and feel thsi hole thing is been blown out of proportion .

I for one fell for him and every other flight crew who has to deal with some rude passanger mabe next time they will think twice on how they treat the fight ctrew so kudos for him for saying what every singe coustmer service person alwasy want to say but they don't

Barbara

The flight attendant is my hero.I think the passenger who caused the problem should have been arrested. The passenger did not listen to instructions and caused the luggage to hit the flight attendant on the head. Since when do you abuse a person who is only doing their job. To add injury to insult, they send a swat team to arrest him. I think they got it wrong. Why was the passenger free to go? Why did this person need to get their bag right then? The flight attendant did his job. It's the passenger who chose NOT to follow the rules and this person doesn't get arrested? I don't understand that logic at all. The flight attendant should file charges against her.

Jos

I understand how the attendant felt and I empathize with him. The passenger should have been charged with disobeying an order on an airplane and inciting this situation. Others have been taken off planes and arrested for simply saying something considered inappropriate.
Mr. Slater should not have spent one minute in jail, and Jet Blue should pay his bail as he was doing his job protecting both the passengers and the aircraft. I'm a nervous flyer, and if I had heard the attendant tell the lady to sit and not remove her bag, and she continued to do so I think I might have panicked.

Catherine W.

Job or no job,,, People are people and they get Fed up! It's called being Normal! When you're done you're done! People can only take Sooooo much abuse for Sooo long. Is a person who's has a heart attack in the middle of a movie theater a criminal because they didn't act "appropriate"? We forget that have a Body,, that has limitations. That's what it means when you've reach your limit,,, that you're unable to maintain control. You can't maintain control when you can't maintain control! Simple. Living in a monetary world doesn't separate us from the fact that we are limited. We forget the Natural part of us. Can we Arrest the Oil for spilling out all over?

Carolyn A. Smith

I support the flight attendant. The obnoxious passenger abused the carry-on luggage restrictions (I've come close to being hit by enormous bags in overhead compartments), was abusive when asked to obey rules, and thought it was okay to hit the attendant. Why is the attendant possibly subject to a jail term, while egregious animal abuse usually gets a slap on the wrist and wreckless driving seems to be the accepted norm? It's time for anything less than civility to be unacceptable, and for people to respect other people's right to life by obeying laws meant to protect us.

Maureen Chirichella

BRAVO!!! YOU ARE MY HERO. ALL MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. SHAME ON JET BLUE FOR NOT PROTECTING THEIR EMPLOYEES. GOD BE WITH YOU.

Theresa D. Vitarbo

I can certainly relate to this, having dealt with quite a few jerks in my lifetime. Everyone has a breaking point, and that was Mr. Slater's. That woman suffers from a sense of entitlement and feels she doesn't have to wait like the rest of the commoners on board. It would not surprise me if she was sitting in first class. Whenever I'm getting off a plane, it never ceases to amaze me at the amount of trash left behind in first class. Many people these days feel that the world revolves around them. I hope Mr. Slater gets his job back.

aces

He is my hero

Bagey

I think they are prosecuting the wrong person.....The full force of the Law should be place on that person who started this damn ruckus..she disobeyed the instructions to stay in her seat,,,,

Joe

Wow... talk about a killer exit. My opinion, let the guy go and I agree with Ramonita, the passenger should be banned for unruly behavior.

Jerry Mackesy

In the last month I have made two flights from Islip to Tampa, and no one is listening to the announcements at the gate or on the plane. There is just to much stuff taken on the plane, what is that box by the gate door for? I would guess that 40% of the bags taken on the plane would not fit in that BOX. On the plane people text, check e-mail and use their phones inflight.

cham

hopefully we all learn from this. The next time we board a plane lets not forget our manners please. I'm sure Mr. Slater was just doing his job for the safety of everyone. It is not right to curse him for that or anyone at all!!! Maybe the airlines should do something to these rude, annoying passengers and give more regards to their employees. And no, I don't work as an attendant or any customers service, I'm a stay home mom, raising my kids with manners and respect and I am displeased to see these adults that don't follow rules!!! We ought to know better. To Mr. Slater, wish you all the best out of this.

Gladys Virella

I believe the passenger should have displayed consideration for the flight attendant. When the luggage fell on Steven's head he should have apologized to him. Some people think the whole world should bow down to them and therefore don't care about anything but themselves. I found the passenger very prideful and indifferent. Boo to him!

Anon_e_mouse

Passengers such as the ones he was dealing with are the biggest reason I don't fly any more... I can't take the stress of the collective rudeness that pervades the skies. I can certainly understand how the flight attendant got pushed to the breaking point and I sympathize with his actions.

Karen Zaranski

For about 12 years, until this past March, I flew 3 weeks out of 4 for business. While I don't condone the flight attendent's behavior and inability to control his temper, I can certainly understand his anger. Flights are full of people who bring on too much luggage, don't turn off electronics when asked, get up when told not too, etc. I guess they think the rules don't apply to them and I'm sure their bad behavior and attitude extend to every facet of their lives, not just when they fly. I always grateful I only had to put with them for a few hours.
The only suprise to me was that the attendant didn't haul off and smack the idiot passenger.

helen ferencz

i understand how mr slater feels. i worked for many yrs. serving the public.you would not believe what people do! i was a deli clerk and one time a woman cut the line, in front of a disabled woman,icaught her,and told her to go to the back of the line. she got very very angry,started cursing at me,and started throwing things at me.i ignored her and continued on to the next customer. this is just one of many situtions people who work with the puplic have to indure. their were many times i just wanted to fight back like mr slater did. i think he just finally lost it and could not take it anymore. after time even the best of us tend to lose it. i think the passenger who started the situation should be charged,and forced to apologize to mr. slater,and all the crew and passengers of the flight. i hope mr. slater can get his job back,or maybe the airline can give him a different position. best of luck mr. slater.

SharikaC

I fail to see what the flight attendant's crime was. Last time I checked, swearing was NOT a crime. Neither is rudeness and that goes both ways. This guy did NOT put any of the passengers on board his flight in danger. On the other hand, the passenger who stood up to retrieve their luggage before the plane was at a full and complete stop did. Why did this person need to get their bag right then? The flight attendant did his job. It's the passenger who chose NOT to follow the rules and this person doesn't get arrested? I don't understand that logic at all. If the flight attendant planned on quitting anyway, he sure did it in a grand way.

Eileen

Why isn't the passenger being arrested for assault and battery to a JetBlue employee who was trying to stop her from possibly injuring a passenger?
Why did the NYPD send what was described bythe neighbors as a SWAT team and a helicopter to apprehend him? They usually only send 1 or 2 cops for a "domestic disturbance" even when they told there's screams and fighting.

He owes JetBlue for the beer and the restock fee for the chute. That is it. He has injured no one and damaged no PUBLIC property.

If "they" try to put this under "possible terrorist threat" just because it happened on an airplane, "they" are going to find that America is getting sick of this "for your protection" nonsense.

myrna

Ithink the person that cause all of this mess should get arested to,they should be follwing the rules,to dam unruly.

myrna

I think the flight attendant was right,cause some peopl have problems following rules,he is human to and they feel they can treat them any old way and that's not right,i think he about had it with these unruly passengers,and when he got hit in the head that did it in for him,he had reach his boiling point,i am sorry that it went that way for him but i think he act before thinking.I dont think they should lock him up if its his first offense,just suspend him but dont take his job from him.

Mel

I worked in Customer Service for over 25 years for a utility in a "face to face" environment. I have had customers urinate in my chair, spit on me, and generally be disrespectful. All while I had to keep a smile on my face and treat them with the utmost respect. Because I was "the face" of the company and had to ensure good satisfaction numbers. Hooray for Steven! He has done what all customer service representatives have wanted to do for years!!
Stewards are notoriously low paid; the perk of low cost airfare is pretty much considered part of the salary. Not to mention the presumed glamor of the job. I agree with many of the posts here; what gives people the right to think they can disobey rules and not be accountable? And to curse at someone without repercussion? After 28 years of customer abuse, I can see why he went over the edge...with style!

bamwilson

My husband and I travel extensively and are always amazed (although we shouldn't be) at some of the general public's obnoxious behavior. What I'm not surprised at is how this poor flight attendant reacted and how other flight attendants control themselves when they obviously are dealing with self-involved people with no respect for anyone but themselves. If we were aboard that flight and saw what went on, we would have stood up and applauded for the flight attendant.

Nancy

At least he did not lash out and shoot up the place! I worked for the airlines for 37 years and the public feels they're entitled to act rude. He's my hero!

Ramonita Santiago

I am glad to read through this site that there are so many people that feel the way I do. It is very disturbing to know that there are people who behave the way they do. I have seen too many times the way passengers disrespect and ignore the flight attendants. Mr. Slater is a human being who has probably had enough of these unruly passengers. There is only but so much a person can take. Airlines should start ticketing people on flights for not following instructions. I have seen passengers totally ignore a flight attendant when told to put away their electronic devices. It is as if though no one is talking to them. It seems to me that there are people who like to cause turmoil on flights just because they like the attention. Stop the nonsense and behave with respect. The fact that Mr. Slater will probably lose his job should be punishment enough. I hope that he is allowed to seek psychological treatment instead of being put in jail and allowed to continue his employment once he has completed a treatment program. Good luck Mr. Slater.

Marian

I am tired of people who think the rules don't apply to them - did that passenger think she could stand up and open the bin - because she was special? I think flight attendants have to deal with unruly passengers every day - crowded flights, rude people - that he just snapped - like in the movie - "I'm not going to take it anymore!" Wrong way to quit - but he will certainly gain hero status because he did what the rest of us have fantasized about! Drop the charges..and find out who the passenger was and ban her from Airtran!

Shari

First, this story is hysterical.

Having worked in the service industry for many years, I, too, have dealt with my share of bad behavior. People are entirely too rude and have this unbelievable sense of entitlement; they feel that just because they've paid money for something, it allows them a free pass to act like a jerk and treat others with disrespect. Well enough is enough. This guy didn't actually do anything wrong. In fact, outside of calling this jerk out in public, all he did was grab a drink and head home - no need for arrest. He didn't jeopardize anyone's safety as the plane was already pulled into its place and was fully stopped. Leave the guy alone.
The only person who should be in trouble here is the passenger who clearly violated FAA safety rules and put herself as well as others in danger.

Anonymous

Its obvious that he had enough. He didn't want to work there anymore and was about to snap. It only took one more time for something to happen. Customer service is not in any way an easy job. It was time for him to go and he went out with a bang.

Toni

While he may have gone a little overboard (no pun intended) with his exit, I'm personally sick and tired of passengers who abuse flight crew. We've all seen them and heard them. They are full of their own self-importance and I hate to travel with them.

If you have that much difficulty following the instructions of someone else, then get in your car and drive instead. If I had been your seatmate and your overhead luggage had fallen out and hit me on the head because you couldn't follow directions, you can bet I would have reacted differently.

Flight attendants get paid wheels up to wheels down. So all of that time that you are on the ground, and they are still taking care of you, they are doing it for free. If you don't believe me, ask one sometime. Then remember to thank your flight crew from captain right down to flight attendant. I always do. (and no, I don't work for an airline. I was just raised with manners)

also Anonymous

Too many rude and rowdy passengers seem to be getting away with amounts to bad behavior. I think the flight attendant, head injury caused his being irrational behavior.

Anonymous

What about the passenger who was not following the rules???
He represented a safety risk to other passengers, did he get arrested too? HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ARRESTED!!!

John Calloway Jackson

Hey, if you got leave, grab the beer and go!

Diane

maybe they should screen their potential employees first a little better

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