A JetBlue flight attendant argued with a passenger on the tarmac at JFK today. In a fit of rage, he activated the plane's inflatable emergency slide, slid out, and stormed off the job. [Updated with photos and his curse-strewn rant!]
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 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 New York Times blog City Room reports that Slater argued with a passenger while the plane taxied near JFK Airport's Terminal 5, then "activated the inflatable evacuation slide... ran from the plane, got into a vehicle he had parked in the employee parking lot, and left the airport." The New York Daily News has a more colorful description of Slater's meltdown:
"To the passenger who called me a m—-f—er, f—- you," flight attendant Steven Slater ranted over the intercom, passengers said.
"I've been in the business 20 years. I've had it. That's it."
After activating the emergency exit and sliding down to the tarmac, Slater returned to pick up his bag and rode the AirTrain to his car parked the the JetBlue lot, cops said.
The Wall Street Journal Metropolis blog adds that Slater "grabbed two beers from the galley" before he slid away. According to his MySpace page, Steven Slater is a 38-year-old man from Queens who enjoys fine dining, travel, and "semi-fabulous JetBlue Airways destinations":
Back flying after five years off the job and having a ball. If I am on the ground, I am probably in my humble home in the 'burbs doing something domestic and trite. like vacuuming.Or dining, as I just love to dine. Which leads to the gym, to offset the dining. Big fan of sand and sun, I am often found on the beach or in a park, anywhere I can catch some exercise and a few rays. My airline affiliation allows me amazing travel privileges, and I love to max it out with trips around the world, sometimes on a moment's notice! Let's go!
His idol is hero flight attendant Uli Derickson, who saved lives during the hijacking of TWA #847.
In his own little way, Steven Slater is a hero, too, for doing that which everyone who has traveled by airplane dreams. Unfortunately, his heroism may result in criminal mischief and trespassing charges. NBC New York reports he could be in jail for up to seven years.