Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plane Crazy!

By now you've heard of folk legend Steven Slater, the man who left his flight attendant job in epic fashion by cursing out obnoxious passengers, grabbing himself a beer off the beverage cart and taking a ride down the emergency slide to the tarmac below. I predict he will become a fabled character of Americana the likes of Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan. Who can say "Take This Job and Shove It" in a grander fashion than Steven Slater?

There's no actual video footage of this happening, which seems odd to me in this age of camera phones, but i guess people really did keep their handheld devices in the off position while they were in the cabin. There is this lovely simulation created by The Taiwanese firm Next Media Animation to give us a general idea of what might have happened.

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But the story gets better. Not only did he run down the tarmac with his two carry-ons and beers in hand, he made it to the AirTran and went home because it took JetBlue a whopping 25 minutes to even report the incident to the Port Authority! Way to be on top of security, JetBlue! Some of the passengers from the plane were even on the AirTran with him. Eventually the cops came to arrest Slater at his home where he was having sex with his boyfriend. He's since been released on bail. Do they not consider him a flight risk?

Now charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, I think he'll obviously have to pay a fine and serve some kind of anger management/probation sentence, but should he serve jail time? I think not. It's not like he really hurt anybody. He didn't start shooting people on the plane. Slater didn't assault the antagonizing passenger who set him off by clocking him in the head with his luggage and cursing him out. And the public reaction to his stunt is really fascinating. Most people acknowledge what he did was wrong but can't set aside their feelings that it's awesome someone lived out such a grand exit from their job. Especially being in a service position where you deal with ungrateful assholes all the time, it has to be incredibly liberating to tell the world to go eff itself and take a ride down an inflatable slide to freedom. Even passengers on the actual flight thought it was kind of awesome despite any inconvenience it caused them. As I said before, this is legendary.

As a one time event, I think this is amusing, but I wouldn't want to see many other flight attendants turn to vigilantism. There are better ways to deal with in flight stress. Look how this lady flight attendant deals with a tough situation on Lufthansa. She starts a pillow fight and everyone ends up happy.

Not everybody needs to live like a legend.

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