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August 10th, 2010
08:19 AM ET

Flight Attendant Slides To Temporary Freedom

Whether or not we want to admit it, most of us who have worked in customer service have fantasized about telling cranky customers exactly where to file their complaints.

Well Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater lived a similar fantasy Monday after a verbal altercation with a passenger.

According to sources, a passenger stood up to remove baggage from the overhead compartment while the plane was still taxiing to the airport terminal. When Slater asked the passenger to sit back down, the passenger refused and continued to remove his luggage. The luggage accidentally hit Slater. The passenger would not apologize and instead called Slater a four-letter-expletive.

This was enough for Slater to do what many have only dreamed of doing. 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 slide, grabbed a few beers and slid to his freedom- at least for a little while. Port Authority police later arrested Slater for criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass

Have you ever quit in an outrageous way? What is your walk-off the job fantasy? Comment below and Kyra will read some during the 10am ET hour of the CNN Newsroom.

Read more about this story here.

Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips • What the...?
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. zorg

    He showed great style. I can not conceive of a better take-this-job-and-shove-it fantasy. He should have his own show where he ambushes annoying customers and lets service workers vent.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  2. Victor Nawrocki

    I quit a job at a company conference during the biggest convention of the year. I burned bridges with a real fury. For 3 years I had a boss that would treat me and the group like 3 year olds (ex: pictures of boxers taped to the walls like pre-schoolers to highlight her "eye of the Tiger" theme or being told to put our watch on another wrist to remember to qualify the customer). I had to get a few drinks but I told people how I felt about their avoiding what everyone knew and that no one came to our support ( she ended up with no team because so many quit). Funny thing is, she is still there she has been reduced to a job she is uniquely qualified for she has no duties. If they let her go they would have to admit we were right! It was the last time I have ever been or will be drunk and I'd do it again!

    August 10, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  3. brenda sanmrow

    I totally understand why mr slater did it.some people think the rules dont apply to themlike the jerky passenger.did he get fined too?Ivew been a waitress for years and had to deal with the public.people can be so rude and crude.I once poured a pitcher of cold water on a guy who kept pinching me on my b utt.I got fired but it felt good when I did it.and yes Id do it again.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  4. ray

    i was painting a new born baby's room and the mother who picked out all these wild colors to paint it , 15 different colors in total, i told the mother, if the baby who was a cutie has any uncontrollable crying or shaking, i would come back and repaint the room need less to say that was my last day. it was funny, i had to say it thanks ray

    August 10, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  5. Lloyd W. Beseda

    I wore a Coke shirt and took a 20oz bottle of Coke into a Pepsi meeting that was being held for the Company that I had worked for untill this meeting. Thank You Lloyd Beseda Knoxville, Tn.

    August 10, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  6. Albert Gordon Humbert

    I am behind the flight attendant 100%. The customer should have charges brought against him a s well. I have seen a great increase in customers lugging these huge bags in to the jets, and the flight attendants are constantly getting injured. They are not trained or have the body's do this work. I mentioned something to a flight attendant on another airline, and gave her my sympathies. She said it has frustrated the core of all flight attendants, the airlines are to blame for not following the rule, if it won't fit in the sample space, it must be checked.
    Back in 1982 I was waiting tables at a small Italian restaurant, and closing time was ten P.M. At two minutes before 12 people who were regulars ( a bowling team ) came in for service. I checked with the manager, and he said that I had to wait on them. I was the only server there, @ $ 2.15 hour, There was only one cook left as well. As I continued to wait on them, they asked for separate checks, all wanted water and extra pitchers. As I mentioned previously they were regulars and known as .50 cent tippers. As i started taking the order the 1st gentleman reminded me he wanted separate checks, and I explained to him that my degree of service would be slower because of that fact, and he asked for the manager. I returned to the table and after the conversation, the manager told me to give the group separate checks, and I told him that was not possible. The gentleman called me a name that was not called for, and I told him that i was leaving and refused to serve the table. He said that i was fired, and I told him, that it was obvious that I knew that in advance.
    I still believe the public is ignorant to what service staff go through to give them a good experience thus I don't agree with the intercom or beer part of the flight attendant, the fact he was caring for a ill mother does give some reasoning to his behavior. The customer should also be brought up on charges of not obeying basic airline rules and injuring the flight attendant, if this is to be fair and balanced, right Kyra?

    August 10, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  7. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    I was mostly self employed appliance tech. if someone came into my store and mad me mad I would just kick them out on there ears I never was a strong supporter of the customer is always right .

    August 10, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  8. Emily

    I work for customer service at a major corporation and I talk to all walks of life. It is needless to say that my opinion of the American public has quickly spiral downward. People are rude, ignorant and clearly do not have respect from others. It seems to me that the public doesn't understand that we are there to help them and not make their lives worse. We are people too. Customers need a reality check and to take responsibility for their actions.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  9. ken

    The flight attendant was verbally and physically assaulted by a passenger so he was right in going off. The passenger violated FAA rules and assaulted a flight attendant so why wasn't he arrested. If the passenger was muslim he would be in jail right now and charged with terrorism

    August 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  10. Raymond

    It would appear that the passenger was in violation of Federal Air Regulations by being up during taxi, having seatbelt undone with the sign on, not keeping bags stowed, failed to comply with crew member instructions and interfered with the duies of the flight crew. All witnessed by the other pasengers. Is JetBlue or the FAA going after this passenger who instigated the situation?

    This is the other story and it needs to be told.

    August 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  11. Nate

    When I was 15 I got sick of my boss and my paper route, so I dumped all my papers on the doorstep of my first delivery customer and went back home. Just kidding! I don't even remember quitting my paper route... but wouldn't that have been hilarious!! šŸ˜€

    August 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  12. Paula

    I feel the passenger should be charged with assault and battery.
    I was on a Jet Blue flight and quickly stood up to get my luggage and was asked to sit down until we arrived at the gate. I did after all it is the rule.
    The attendant has a bruise on his head and she should be charged with assault.
    Forget the attendant and GO AFTER HER!!!!!

    August 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Mary Serpe

    Mu husband and I are 100% behind the flight attendant. Passengers who carry on luggage are just a nuisance to other passengers and flight crew. They are rude and inconsiderate to others, stuffing those over sized bags into small overheads. As they walk down the aisle they hit you in the head with the bags carried over the shoulder and than bang into your knees with the pull behind bags they have. Once you land, now you have to wait for these people to get their bags down from the overheads, again hitting you in the head etc. Of course, they don't want to wait for their bags to come off the plane. We wait on the plane for bags and in ther terrminal. Airlines are at fault here, they need to stop carry on luggage or start charging at least $100.00 for each carry on. The flight attendants do not have an easy job.

    August 11, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  14. maggie

    What I don't like about corporate sales work is that they hire you part time, give you no benefits, then shove papers at you at endless meetings with percentages and goals, etc etc etc....then expect you to get excited about it all. How can I get excited about a job that doesn't even fill the requirements I need to live a productive life... if it doesn't pay the bills?

    If you're not going to hire me full time with benefits and a voice, ... if you're only going to give me 20 hours a week at less than 10 dollars an hour, and expect me not to get another job as it may interfere,... if you're going to hire me with no benefits or incentives, then please just let me do my job and be a worker for those 20 hours. The paycheck and the bills I have hold a higher interest.

    Corporations are psychopathic in nature. They don't care about the little guy, just the bottom line.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  15. Gene Nixon

    I am sorry but if you work with customers what Mr. Slater did was way out of line. We all have bad days and some to the point that our prisons are filled with people that could not handle rage. As a previous customer care call center manager, I had two female employee's get into a fist fight over ordering lunch and not sharing the menu because they were having a bad day. Mr. Slater is no Folk hero, he is stressed and depressed and let's hope he get's the help help he needs. Working with customers for 20 years will wear you down and stress you out if you don't have an outlet for the stress.

    I wish Mr. Slater and any one else battling work place stress or rage the best and if you need it, take some time off to de-stress under FMLA, see a DR and get the help you need.

    August 11, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  16. LM

    I had a boss who was managing professionals practicing in areas she had no training in, but she was ordering equipment for us (not with us) and in general was being a princess boss. Her decisions were not to be questioned even when she had us giving treatments that we had no training in. Our professional standards were traded for cash.
    One day she said the wrong thing to me at the wrong time. I found myself outside myself watching as I told her everything I had been holding in. I did not get fired, but a raise was with held. It felt great to unload, even tho' I had no idea it was coming. It was also the impetus for my starting my own business. As hard as it has been in this economy, at least I have a job and a boss that I can deal with.
    I am not sorry it happened, just sorry it happened in that way.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  17. mria

    the passger should be left alone but the worker should be chreded

    August 11, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  18. janey

    I have worked all my career in customer service. I work at an airport bar. I have compassion for Mr. Slater. His mother is dying. He was trying to do his job. The added stress of that lady took him to the point of no return. I think they should give Mr. Slater time off to take care of his mom. This is not typical behavior for this man. I hope the court takes this into consideration. Please don't put him in jail.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  19. mary carney

    Anyone notice how Quiet management is? hum-m-m I wonder if flight attendants are treated like the pilots? You know, like the "turn- arounds"? We've all heard about? thank god it did not happen at 35,000 feet!

    August 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  20. Mikey P

    I live and work out of Chicago, IL, USA>

    I had enough of my employer, and his puppet GM verbally assaulting me for several months straight. One day, they told me they were paying me 4 months worth of overdue commission, all at once. That notice came in on a Wednesday, and the money would be electronically deposited that Friday.

    Friday rolled around, and my boss calls and says, "Hey, you coming in to the office". I said, "No... No, I'm not actually"... he replies "I don't understand, you have no field appointments today, why aren't you coming in?".

    Then I gave it to him.

    "You sitting down" I asked. "Yeah, why" he replied.

    I proceeded to say, "I'm literally boarding a plane to South Africa right now. I have to go. And, I know I'm your best sales guy. If my desk is there when I return, great. If not, it's your loss!".

    I proceeded to enjoy the most amazing vacation ever, and when I got back, I did not return to the company. He tried kissing my you know what over the phone, but by the time I reached my layover in Atlanta, my business cell phone had been cut off already!!!!!

    Good times, and absolutely no regrets.

    If you are taking @#$$ from people, be it your employer or your customer, enough should be enough. Life is to short to be miserable. Go enjoy yourself, and remember the courageousness of your youth šŸ˜‰

    August 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  21. Allan

    I fully support Mr. Slater, and can understand why he became so frustrated and discusted with the travelling public, some of whom are nothing short of ignorant and self serving, that they think they can do anything they wish regardless of the situation. This passenger was disobeying the rules, and should be subject to some punishment. Its heartening to see other flight attendants supporting Mr. Slater. These rude and inconsiderate passengers seem to be on every flight, and its sickening to the decent travelling public, and to the flight attendants/staff who are doing their best, to make one's flight as enjoyable as possible, under difficult conditions.
    Bravo.!!!! Mr Slater.

    August 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  22. Jewelz

    I think that both sides are right in some ways. Mr. Slater could have handled the situation with a little more maturity but some people just have their limits. No one has mentioned what the passenger was like during the flight either, she could have been horrible and belligerent to him the whole flight. Mr. Slater should be able to file assault charges or something for getting hit in the head. The woman was in violation of airline rules she should be getting punished as well.

    August 25, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  23. Amanda

    I agree that Mr. Slater had a right to say what he did, and even to quit his job. However, the bottom line is that he broke the law. Yes he was upset, and like I said, I completely agree with him for shoving his anger in that woman's face. He broke the law in releasing the air bag slide while the plane was still in motion and there was not an emergency.

    So even though I agree that customers can be a pain in the butt, a lot of the time, he broke a law. I also agree that the woman on the plane should be fined for breaking flight rules. It doesn't seem fair for her not to get anything for her mistakes.

    I worked at a pizza place for a little over two years of my life, and trust me, telling customers off was just about always on my mind. However, when you are hired for a job, that means that you understand the fact that you'll be dealing with people. If you can't hold your tongue and deal with it, then get out!

    End of story. Both parties were in the wrong for different reasons. Therefore, both should be punished for their crimes.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:24 am |