Hero or 'Bag Nazi'? JetBlue Flight Attendant Plans to Hit the Beach

JetBlue Flight Attendant Freed, Calls Attention "Neat"; Expects to Lose Job.

ByABC News
August 10, 2010, 2:28 PM

Aug. 11, 2010— -- Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant and self-professed "bag Nazi" who made a dramatic exit on an emergency slide Monday, is now free and told reporters he is looking forward to "a little down time, a little beach time, enjoying the rest of the summer."

Last night, the flight attendant who turned into media sensation was released from jail on $2,500 bail, and told reporters he was surprised by all the attention his story had generated.

"I knew there was a brouhaha about this," he said. "But while I was on the inside I didn't realize how much attention it got." And he added that it feels "neat."

"It's been very, very appreciated," Slater told ABC News staton WABC-TV. "It seems like something here has resonated with a few people."

Meanwhile, the 100 passengers on the flight are getting a $100 voucher good towards a future flight in the next year on the airline.

"As is consistent with our long-standing policies, JetBlue often provides vouchers to our customers when they experience a disruption or otherwise abnormal circumstance. This event falls into that category," spokesman Mateo Lleras told ABC News.

On its blog, the airline added: "While we can't discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation, plenty of others have already formed opinions on the matter. Like, the entire Internet. (The reason we're not commenting is that we respect the privacy of the individual. People can speak on their own behalf; we won't do it for them.)"

"While this episode may feed your inner Office Space," the airline added, "we just want to take this space to recognize our 2,100 fantastic, awesome and professional Inflight Crewmembers for delivering the JetBlue Experience you've come to expect of us."

Delta flight attendant Doug Slater is a friend of -- but not related to -- JetBlue's Steven Slater, and said he understands where his friend was coming from.

"Every flight attendant has had this frustration and has had the desire to do something like that that you would lose your job," he told ABC News. "I think everyone has fantasized about that. The public can be challenging."

That said, Delta's Slater said he would work with his friend from JetBlue anytime.

"I would work with him tomorrow, he was fantastic, he was one of those people who was great with the public, he could easily swan over the little old lady who is grumpy and turn her into a smile," he said.

On Facebook, Slater has become a hero to flight attendants and disgruntled workers. A fan site dedicated to him has more than 110,000 followers.

And Slater's mother, a retired flight attendant herself, said her son restrained himself and that if she was in his place she would have been even more aggressive.

"I can understand why he snapped, and I would have snapped too. In fact, I probably would have snapped more than he did," Slater told ABC News station KABC-TV in Los Angeles. "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."

His mom added that she didn't think he would be in trouble "very long."

"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," she said in the driveway of her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

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."

Monday's flight apparently wasn't the first time Slater had issues with passengers' bags.

"I hate to be a bag Nazi when I work a flight, but I feel if I am not, then I am letting down all those who cooperate and try to help out as well," he wrote several months ago on Airliners.net, an aviation website.

Outside the jail, Slater conceded he will "more than likely" lose his job. Asked if he cared about that any more, he broke into a big smile, laughed, and then said, "no comment at this time."

JetBlue hasn't fired him but has removed Slater from duty pending an investigation.