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August 10th, 2010
08:13 AM ET

Flight Attendant Freaks Out

Traveling has become more and more stressful through the years with increased security measures and longer lines.

A Jet Blue flight attendant freaked out on a passenger who refused to remain seated while the plane was taxiing to the terminal Monday.

According to sources, the passenger stood to remove baggage from the overhead compartment while the plane was still in motion. They say when flight attendant Steve Slater asked the passenger to sit back down, the passenger refused and continued to remove the luggage. The luggage reportedly hit Slater, who demanded an apology. The passenger would not apologize and instead called Slater a four-letter-expletive.

This apparently was enough to push Slater beyond his limit. He proceeded to express the same choice four-letter-word and announced he was quitting to everyone on board over the intercom. Slater then deployed the emergency chute, grabbed a beer and slid to his freedom, at least for a little while. Port Authority police later arrested Slater for criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. Read more about this story here.

Slater's dramatic departure left us wondering- What is the worst experience you have ever had with a flight attendant? Leave us a comment. We'll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am ET – 1pm ET.


Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Tony Harris
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. jerald

    I can understand the flight attendant all the way. I work for the airlines and these people still look at us like we r at the bottom of the food chain. But his exit was a grand stand

    August 10, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  2. Please

    The flight attendant didn't do anything wrong. The passenger was at fault.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  3. magicbus

    "Slater's dramatic departure left us wondering- What is the worst experience you have ever had with a flight attendant?"

    Are you kidding me!!! I think the question should be directed to flight attendants and asking them what is the worst experience they ever had with idiot passengers?

    This country is so fixated on entitlement that when an obvious infraction occurs, it's the management's fault for enforcing the rules.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  4. Steven Krengel

    I think it would be more interesting to query the flight attendants and ask them what the rudest behavior of a passenger that they have had to put up with. Though I have experienced rude behavior from an airlines it is typically at the boarding gate or more likely when trying to call them on the phone. I have seen rude behavior by passengers much more often, the people that think they are more important than God but the whole while they are just making a fool out of themselves.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  5. andrew

    This is a hard working man in my opinion. The passenger is the person who should be questioned for not obeying the flight attendant and for verbally abusing him on the flight.
    Steve Slater made a mistake only in deploying the Emergency shoot. Everyone is entitled to a mistake. No charges should be filed. This is obviously a person with no criminal background and probably one get out of charges free in his pocket. It seemed like he was trying to serve America the best he could and just couldnt believe that this passenger would crap on him in such an offensive way. It was like everything mr slater had been working toward the passenger tried to take by abusing him in that way. The passenger should be charged and mr slater should be issued a warning from FAA and Airline but not charged. Maybe even rehired if Jetblue is really the chic airline it claims to be. Jetblue should take a stand and show America we will not tolerate unruly behavior by passengers. Rehire him but put on probationary period. FAA should drop charges. Hard working man who did not violate any real safety procedure. Stupid but not criminal.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  6. naoma

    You can read his comments on another site. Just the usual word
    with mother at the beginning. Why are words so "offensive." Oh, yes,
    the children might hear. Have you listened to your children when
    they did not know you were there?

    August 10, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  7. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    I have seen many flight attendants take abuse from passengers. They work the front line and get the abuse due to the corporate greed of airline executives. Passengers are treated like cattle due to all of the restrictions now required to fly. The flight attendant get all of the abuse just for doing their jobs. I have seen many passengers take on more than their share of carry on luggage to avoid the checked baggage fee. This takes away the space of other passengers and again the flight attendant has to step in and make everyone happy. These people are unnecessarily abused on a daily basis. The airline executives should get down on the planes and go through security and then get crammed into a small coach seat for a cross country flight to better understand what is really going on.
    Steve Slater may have sacrificed his carrier but it may wake up airline executives to enforce their own rules and make a bad situation somewhat bearable for the rest of the airline passengers.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  8. Justin

    I totally agree with Anne on this.

    I have worked retail for the last 20 years of my life. I have seen a tremendous shift in how customers behave and it is not for the better.

    I think that we should hear the passenger in questions side of the story as well. That way all of America can see the people who behave like idiots that all of us in the service industry deal with all of the time.

    It might just be a wake up call for everyone.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  9. Fred

    Stress is no excuse for the kind of behavior the media is now trying to justify. These people not only abuse others, but put them in danger of physical harm. One can only guess how many homicides have been committed because of these temper tantrums. Rather than having an attitude that the world owes them everything in their ego centered life, they should have an attitude of thankfulness that they have a job at all. These people belong in the hospital and not appearing as heroes on the front pages of our news media.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  10. Sylvester

    As a recently retired former flight attendant, I feel as though Steven Slater was out of line. Please know that I totally agree with the sentiment around passenger behaviors becoming more...unbecoming (most customers are good, decent people). I flew for 15 years on many flights into and out of NY. These flights were at times challenging and maddening (some would say the most difficult in the US). Of course (in our thoughts) who wouldn't want to go out this way? Exciting, thrilling, standing up to the evil that lurks in the skies 🙂 The interesting part is that he actually did it (taking beer with him for his escape? Really?) Was it fun for him? Sure. Does he appear relieved? Sure. For those who see him as a 'folk hero', how does his actions elevate the profession of the flight attendant? A number of customers already view flight attendants as aloof, moody and uncaring. Let's hope this doesn't spur copycat flight attendants OR customers who push the buttons of these hard working people.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  11. KP Riley

    This incident just shows how insensitive people are to the plight of working people.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  12. US Marine

    This outburst rings me back to the Miss America pageant when a certain someone had an outburst. Seems to be the norm in that culture. When you are upset just freak out.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  13. John DeValve

    In the Steven Slater case, I would like to know more about the passenger involved. Who is he? Why did he act so rudely?

    August 11, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  14. Gavin Gregory

    The only way to deal with an issue is to deal with the truth of it. You are only able to deal with a disease if you admit you have it. We put our heads in the sand when we act as though the disease of racism isn't a problem. It is still a HUGE problem, and is only being discussed now because we now have a Black President. We want to believe in an idealized America, because that's what this country is supposed to be, but in reality, there is still much work to be done. There are REAL, hard to accept reasons, why we still deal with racism in America. NO ONE can afford to put their heads in the sand about it anymore...

    August 11, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  15. RIpley

    The nation is making a hero of someone who should be in jail. This pansy caused everyone else on the plane to wait for hours while the NTSB and others were involved to straighten this mess out and get the plane to the gate.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  16. Lise

    What I would like to know is why the passenger that got up, swore at the attendant and hit him in the head with the overhead door and had the luggage fall out isn't being charged with endangerment, assault or any other crime. If they find the attendant guilty of standing up for himself for doing his job then the person that caused the meltdown should be charged as well. If they aren't then are we not saying it's ok to go against the safety guidelines that the attendants are trying to uphold?

    August 11, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  17. Michael

    Tony, I think your last guest, (Allen?) actually got it – it's all about safety. But I think ALL of your other guests completely missed the point. If in fact the passenger in question was not only abusive, but was actually out of his/her seat against airline safety protocol and his/her actions resulted in the injury of a flight attendant (bag to his head), then I believe the Federal Security Rules / FAA Rules deem that a federal safety violation – in other words, that passenger should have been met by police, hand-cuffed, and arrested on the spot as soon as he/she de-planed.

    Yes, it is very unfortunate that the flight attendant acted as he did (instead of keeping his cool and having airport police arrest the passenger), but I believe that the flight attendant was "pushed" to this emotional and irrational reaction by the abusive passenger, and that this passenger (and any others who behave with total disregard for air-travel safety) should be prosecuted within the full extent of FAA and TSA regulations.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  18. Janice

    I have seen passengers demand things from flight attendants and treat them rudely. Usually the attendants act reasonably as possible under difficult circumstances. A flight that I was on with my sister had a very difficult mother and baby. She didn't want to put bag overhead (sat in row 1), wanted to get something while we were leaving the gate, etc, etc the whole flight. My sister and I both commented that the flight attendant was great- I would have yelled at the passenger or more. To my surprise a couple of weeks later I was called by airline and asked if anything happened on the flight. I said there was one awful passenger and the flight attendant handled herself well. Come to find out the passenger had filed a complaint against attendant. Hope the airline never lets that passenger on another flight.Ateendants are not servants and when a passenger acts as this one did the attendant should file a report and the passenger should not be allowed on another flight or at least be told one more problem no more flights.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Paul Harrington

    Tony,

    I seem to recall that several individuals (including you) have noted that people snap with some frequency in various work environments. Some after just a short time on the job, others like Jet Blue’s Steven Slater who has been on the job 18 or 20 years. Life is a series of changes—physical changes, intellectual changes, emotional changes, environmental changes and so the list goes.

    You asked, “What leads a seemingly normal everyday Joe to lose it?”

    I expect somebody has tried (succeeded?) in making a broad list that covers 98% of situations. But there probably is no way to predict who is going to ‘snap’ or when or how that person will ‘snap.’ At least there probably isn’t any way to do so that doesn’t violate a person’s rights.

    It was not all that long ago that such behavior was called ‘going postal’ (a very unfair description).

    Life in pre-industrial, pre-renaissance, and pre-historic times was just as hard, just in different ways. Life wasn’t fair then, and it isn’t fair now. Until some person or set of persons has a bright idea of how to address these problems in a systematic and fair way, ‘seemingly everyday’ Joes will lose it from time to time.

    One more thought: no matter what the Rule, somebody will ALWAYS find at least one exception to the Rule.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  20. sangeetha

    These days Airlines have become rediculous they have full flight most of the time .I'm a business traveller who board in San Jose or San Francisco around 3 PM in the evening and get down in houston at 12 AM . I have tried to take my bags on board each and every week and i had to check in on the plane side and wait for 30 to 40 mins in the mid night in carousel in IAH Houston . I had to drag my bag all the way to gate and also had to wait in the carousel ....i have been asking them to check it free in the checkin counter in case if its a full flight where they have never agreed for it cant they have a override button for the baggage checkin ...for hand luagage ...they make us so much angry why shld we care or show our gratitude to them ......! How many of you readers are with me ....! Slater's actions are not agreeable.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:19 am |