Steven Slater, JetBlue Flight Attendant Out on Bail
JetBlue flight attendant frustrated, exits plane on emergency slide.
Aug. 10, 2010— -- Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who probably found one of the most dramatic ways to quit a job ever, walked out of jail this evening after his $2,500 bail was posted.
After he was released, Slater was picked up by a minivan and driven away, New York City Department of Correction spokesman Stephen Morello said. He did not have details on who posted bail for Slater.
Meanwhile, JetBlue said Slater had been removed from duty pending an investigation.
The 38-year-old flight attendant, who on Monday allegedly cursed out an entire aircraft, grabbed a beer and then exited the plane by deploying the emergency slide, appeared in court this morning with a grin on his face.
As JetBlue Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh was taxiing to a gate at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Slater tired to assist a woman who was struggling with her carry-on luggage, his lawyer Howard Turman told a judge in Queens today.
An argument that evidently began in Pittsburgh erupted again in New York, according to Slater's lawyer. Slater believes the middle-aged woman "maliciously" hit him on his head with her luggage, Turman said.
That's when Slater apparently grabbed the plane's intercom and made an expletive-laced speech, grabbed a beer from the galley, opened the door and slid down the emergency evacuation chute.
In a written statement to the Queens County District Attorney's Office, Slater said, "I lost patience after a female passenger had an argument with another passenger and then opened the bin door hitting me on the head without apologizing, I got on the microphone and said, 'To those of you [who] have shown dignity and respect these last twenty years, thanks for a great ride.' I accessed the porthole pulled the door handle inflating the slide, took my baggage and slid down the slide and left."
His lawyer portrayed Slater as a man standing up to a flying public that is out of control.
"This is an example of how airline civility is missing," Turman told the court. "People just don't have courtesy anymore."
Slater's mother, Diane Slater, a retired flight attendant interviewed at her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., by ABC News station KABC in Los Angeles, defended her son.
"I don't think he's going to be in trouble very long," she said. "I think he just had a very small meltdown, and I think he deserves to be able to have that meltdown if you saw the egg on his head where he got smacked."
Diane Slater told the station that the passenger should face charges for interfering with an airplane crew member, her son, and "smacking him in the head."
"I can understand why he snapped, and I would have snapped too. In fact, I probably would have snapped more than he did," she said. "I also don't think that people who are in the service industry should be abused by anybody, whether it be a passenger or anybody."