Slater Makes Second JetBlue Exit
Folk hero flight attendant has officially parted ways with the carrier.
By KEVIN DOLAK
Sept. 5, 2010
Steven Slater has made his second exit from JetBlue this summer -- the airline says the most famous flight attendant in America has been shown the exit permanently, but his lawyer says he resigned.
Jenny Dervin, a spokeswoman for JetBlue, told CNN that Slater, 38, was let go sometime last week. She declined to give further details on the nature of his departure, and the airline will not release any further information.
But Slater's lawyer said that when the flight attendant left JetBlue on Wednesday, it was not the airline's decision.
"He was not fired," attorney Daniel J. Horwitz told The Associated Press.
The lawyer told the AP that he and Slater were still working out details with the airline, but wouldn't elaborate.
In August Slater became an instant sensation after dramatically quitting his job at JetBlue by allegedly cursing out his passengers, grabbing a beer from the beverage cart and deploying the emergency slide to leave.
Slater was arrested shortly after his impromptu ditch for criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass. He was released on $2,500 bail and was suspended from JetBlue pending an investigation.
JetBlue told employees in a memo that press coverage was not taking into account how much harm can be caused by emergency slides, which are deployed with a potentially deadly amount of force, according to the Associated Press.
While the law and JetBlue may not be on his side, Slater received an overwhelming outpouring of online support that honored him as a folk hero to all disgruntled employees.
"I'm a pilot myself and I was working with my crew when we heard about this," said Gary Baumgardner, who started the Steven Slater Legal Defense Fund, which is collecting donations via a PayPal e-mail account, firstname.lastname@example.org. So far the group has amassed $1,500 in online donations; Baumgardner expects more money to flow in via mailed checks.
"We just feel bad. It's just the way that we're treated. We all feel for him," he added.
Even passengers from Slater's Pittsburgh-to-New-York flight, the very people who saw him lose his cool after being bonked by a woman's carry-on bag, stuck up for him after the ordeal.
"I did not feel in any way threatened by Steven Slater's rant, and I didn't take it personally," passenger Heather Robinson wrote in a Huffington Post blog. "I was not insulted by it, but amused. I'd rather hear a flight attendant relate to me as a human being ... than be on the receiving end of phony, passive-aggressive politeness."