Terrance Heath

Take This Job And....

Filed By Terrance Heath | August 11, 2010 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: flight attendant, JetBlue, Steven Slater, unruly passenger

Granted, we’ve all had days on the job where we’ve long to say, “Screw you guys. I’m going home.” But this guy took it to a whole new level.

A JetBlue flight attendant got into an argument with a passenger on a jetliner arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday, cursed the passenger, grabbed a beer from the galley and then deployed an emergency exit slide and fled the plane, authorities said.

Flight attendant Steven Slater was arrested at his nearby home in the Belle Harbor section of Queens by Port Authority of New York And New Jersey police on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

… Slater was working on JetBlue Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh when he got into an argument with the passenger, who was pulling down baggage from an overhead bin, the Port Authority said. The luggage apparently struck the attendant in the head, and he asked for an apology, but the passenger refused, the agency said.

As the plane was landing, Slater got on the public-address system and cussed at the passenger, the Port Authority said. He then grabbed at least one beer, activated the slide, slid down and went to his car, it said.

Port Authority police were notified about 25 minutes later.

Now that’s what I call an exit they’ll never forget. But in this job market, it might have been better to grab a few beers (and pay for them) after your shift and curse the guy out from a safe distance.

As for the customer, how do you not apologize after your luggage hits someone in the head? What kind of asshole refuses to apologize to someone he just hit in the head with his luggage? Even accidentally?

Even if “it’s their job” you’re still dealing with a human being. Don’t let the uniform fool you. People who work in service industries are from this planet. Their not droids or aliens from a distant galaxy. If you hit them in the head with luggage, even accidentally, it hurts.

Now, maybe Slater had a few choice words for the guy after being bonked on the head by the his luggage. Having worked in various service jobs, I can relate to the flight attendant’s frustration. You can spend whole days dealing with people who (a) treat you like a servant, if (b) the acknowledge your presence at all, and (c) think your position gives them the right to treat you like crap.

Besides, half the time whatever it is that’s upsetting them is probably something over which you have little to no control. Like the waiter or waitress who bears the brunt of anger of a customer whose food is late, even though it’s because the kitchen staff is backed up; or the customers who have to wait an incredibly long time for service, because management is too cheap to have sufficient staff on hand; etc.

(The airline industry isn’t that much different. The History Channel did a show about it a few years ago.)

And you’re supposed to smile at them, instead of telling them off in the manner they so desperately deserve.

C’mon, admit it. If an emergency chute and a cart of cold beers was within reach on your job, sometimes you’d seriously think about making use of both.

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Slater may have endangered the whole plane and others on the ground by the unauthorized deploying of the exit slide. I wonder if he remembered to take his shoes off before jumping, like the safety video instructs.

All I see is another new Airline Security Protocol: "Please remove your shoes, place them in a bin and have your LGBTQRXY&Z card ready."

One more ID must when traveling and I still can't take my perfume in carry on.

To me, the attention in this story is focused on the wrong person.

No flight attendant should have to deal with a passenger who flagrantly violates FAA safety rules (remain in your seat with your belt fastened until the plane is parked and the Captain has turned off the seat belt light) and curses airline staff for attempting to enforce the rules.

How the airline disciplines Slater is a more difficult issue, but I hope that JetBlue is smart enough to ban the unruly passenger from ever flying on JetBlue again --- unfortunately, with all the distractions, JetBlue missed their chance to have the passenger arrested on the spot, which is exactly what he deserved.

We've all wanted to do something similar at one point or another!

I so wanted to do this all year. Unfortunate the elementary schools I worked at didn't have emergency slides or beers.