“Just Chute Me” – A JetBlue Alcoholic Rashomon
JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, 39, blamed his profanity laced rant, theft of two beers, and sudden exit via the emergency slide, on the rude behavior of a passenger. Isn’t that special…these are more likely the byproducts of a raging hangover….must have been a wild night in Pittsburgh. Slater was drunk on duty and there’s no difference between him or the pilot in terms of the flight crew’s responsibility for the safety and welfare of the passengers. Thank goodness the flight didn’t encounter a real emergency which could have not only proven deadly to the passengers, but also further inconvenienced poor, hungover Mr. Slater. This is clearly a case of an aggravated drunk who, in this instance, has shown himself incapable of living up to his rather serious responsibilities as a flight attendant. His outrageous behavior deserves nothing less than energetic prosecution and, at least, permanent exile from any future involvement in the airline industry.
Judging from the quotes assembled from recent media coverage, we are now faced with a JetBlue Rashomon. It’s an opera waiting to be written….”JUST CHUTE ME!” Picture the set design…giant inflatable escape slide…Wow. Imagine the hysterical libretto of the profane PA system aria delivered from a burning microphone….goose bumps…”I’M GOING DOWN AND IT’S YOUR FAULT…ALL OF YOU, YOU MEANIES! Duets intensified by the call and response of conflicting passions…”Pull your seat up, pull your seat up, pull yourrrrrrr seeeeeeeeat up….it’s not reclined, it’s not reclined, it’s not recliiiiiiiiiiiiined!”
The Rashomonic testimony of some passengers, the pilot, an attorney, and a corporate representative…….
“He did hit the back of my seat and said, ‘Pull your seat up. It can’t be reclined.’ It was not reclining and I indicating it to him and then he says, ‘Pull your seat up.’ I said I didn’t recline the seat and he leaned over, hit the button to try to pull it up himself. He hit the back of the seat, but it didn’t move.”
“One of the times he passed by me he was carrying what could either have been a drink for himself, and that was a little bit of the impression I got, as he was kind of waving it about like it was his own cocktail.”
“They were shoving their bags around attempting to get it in. Steven came over to assist and either the bag or the overhang hit him on the head.”
“It makes me so mad, because he’s not a hero. He was rude.”
“The only thing I heard was some guy a few rows behind me I think opened his compartment early when they were taxiing to the gate.”
“I saw the male steward get up and say, ‘please sit down and wait,’ and then the female stewardess said ‘please wait, please wait until the light has turned off.”
“He was instructing them, something like: ‘You can’t move that.’ Then I thought I heard an ‘ow.”
“As we were getting off I overheard the captain saying that the attendant had been hurt at the beginning of the flight and just lost his mind for a second there.”
“I didn’t think she was rude in the least. It really blew my mind. It was so inappropriate.”
Travelers say Slater cursed at passengers over the public address system after several odd run-ins with them during the 90-minute flight from Pittsburgh.
“He looked disturbed at that point.”
Ms. Dominijanni, of Pittsburgh, said that when she pointed to the spilled coffee, Mr. Slater barked, “No! Maybe when we get in the air! I need to take care of myself first, honey!” She said he was pointing to the gash on his head.
Ms. Dominijanni said Mr. Slater never returned with wipes to clean up the spilled coffee. She said he spent much of the 90-minute flight slamming overhead bins and refrigerator doors.
“It wasn’t normal and he shouldn’t have been acting that way. I felt so uncomfortable on that flight.”
“It wasn’t anything totally strange, just a little off.”
“I didn’t even know anything happened until I got home and my mom saw it on the news.”
“We are participating and cooperating fully in the investigation.”
Briskin said the seemingly normal conversation turned unexpectedly nasty when Slater blurted out an expletive to the passenger.
[Slater’s attorney] said Slater “hopes to return to the aviation field” — even saying his client wanted to return to JetBlue.