The flight attendant who argued with a passenger and then bailed out of the airplane is keeping his job for now. Steven Slater has been grounded by JetBlue and the incident is under investigation.
Slater simply chuckled and smiled while police escorted him in handcuffs and reporters asked questions. Officers arrested the 39-year-old at his home after a confrontation with a passenger on a JetBlue airplane.
Therapist Dr. Linda Mintle talks about air rage, people's sense of entitlement, and culture's honoring of 'bad' behavior, on Thursday's CBN Newschannel Morning program, following this report.
"They hauled him off. They were all over the place. It looked like SWAT teams," Slater's neighbor said. "There were helicopters, everything. It was real. Looked like an Army zone over here."
Prosecutors said the plane had just landed at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when an irate passenger apparently ignored Slater's requests to stay seated.
Prosecutors said she then accidentally hit him in the head with her luggage. Police said she then cursed at the flight attendant.
"(She) called him an expletive and apparently hit him or pushed him," said New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Eyewitnesses said Slater then used the plane's intercom to curse at the passenger.
"Did this just happen?" asked passenger Phil Catelinet. "Did he just swear at a passenger on the intercom? That never happens."
Police said Slater hit a breaking point and announced he was quitting and reportedly said, "I've had it! That's it!"
Slater then vacated the plane on the inflatable emergency chute, but not before reportedly grabbing some beer from the concession cart.
In the signed confession, Slater wrote, "I accessed the porthole, pulled the door handle inflating the slide, took my baggage and slid down the slide and left."
The flight attendant faces charges of criminal mischief, trespassing, and reckless endangerment. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
"Airline civility is missing," said Howard Turman, Slater's attorney. "People just don't have courtesy to one another. He's been on the airline industry since he's 19, and people just aren't polite."
Slater's meltdown seems to be drawing sympathy from the public and disgruntled employees everywhere. He has thousands of fans on a Facebook tribute page.