|by Sean O'Neill||Questions and Opinions||153|
Talk about "air rage." As you probably heard, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater (allegedly) yesterday cursed at a passenger over the plane's P.A. system, fired its emergency-exit chute, grabbed some beer, slid to the tarmac, and ran from J.F.K. airport.
Apparently, we here at Budget Travel need to go back to our list of 7 Ways to Annoy a Flight Attendant and add an eighth one: Grabbing your stuff from the overhead bin before your plane has taxied safely to the gate.
The Great Flight Attendant Meltdown of 2010 began around shortly around noon when a passenger stood up to fetch his carry-on while the plane was still moving, says an NBC News report. Slater got into a heated exchange with the passenger—and soon lost it completely.
Slater has been arraigned on charges of "criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, and criminal mischief," which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail, according to The Smoking Gun. Personally, I think no one will ever have been locked up for so long for so little. I think it would make more sense if he was simply debarred from ever working for an airline again, hit with an enormous fine, and required to do years of compulsory community service.
Meanwhile, I would like to know—while we're busy punishing folks—what happened to the irritating passenger? If it's true that the passenger violated safety regulations, shouldn't he be reprimanded?
It's on the ground when there's a high chance for an airplane evacuation. On-the-ground plane evacuations happen every 11 days on average in the U.S. What Slater did was inexcusable, but passengers really do need to stay in their seats while an aircraft is in motion—in case the plane hits another object or has to stop suddenly.
That said, the whole incident is kind of funny. Imagine what the crew from Saturday Night Live might do with this!
Almost every traveler has their Crazy Flight Attendant story. My favorite was when I was flying Independence Air from Washington, D.C. (Dulles) to Manchester, N.H. It had become clear the week of the flight that the airline wasn't long for this world, and the flight attendant started telling this sob story into the P.A. system about how the airline's management had been abusing its staff.
She then gave free beer to everyone on the plane. (I took two. But I don't recommend you do the same; when I got off the plane, I had trouble identifying my luggage.) The flight attendant even attempted to sing a INXS song (I can't remember which one.) The pilot put a stop to the karaoke session quickly.
Have you ever seen a flight attendant go ballistic? Don't keep the story to yourselves! Please share it in the comments. We all need a work break. Thanks!