Aug. 9, 2010— -- A frustrated JetBlue flight attendant allegedly fled his plane via emergency chute -- beer in hand -- after getting into a fight with a passenger and then cursing out the entire cabin over a loudspeaker.
The JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport shortly after noon. As the plane was taxiing to the gate, one of the passengers apparently got out of his seat to grab a bag from an overhead compartment.
The flight attendant walked over to tell him he had to sit down. The two reportedly got into an argument and somehow the flight attendant got hit in the head with either the bag or the compartment door.
At that point, the flight attendant got on the loud speaker, told those aboard to "go f*** themselves," grabbed a beer from the galley, deployed the chute and ran into the terminal. His car was parked at an employee lot and he drove home.
The attendant was arrested at his nearby home about a half an hour later by Port Authority police.
Steven Slater, 38, of the Belle Harbor section of Queens, N.Y., has been charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the New York-area airports. The case is still being investigated but will be referred to the Queens District Attorney's office.
JetBlue would not say how long Slater has worked for the airline, but his LinkedIn profile says he worked as a flight attendant since 1994, when he worked for the former Business Express. He also worked for the now-defunct TWA and for Delta, then apparently had a job as the Burberry accessories shop manager at Bloomingdale's.
According to the profile, at JetBlue he is a member of the "inflight values committee" and is the chairman of the "uniform redesign committee."