Airline biz message boards reveal more about "Epic Bail" Jet Blue attendant Stephen Slater

Via the BB Submitterator, Marilyn Terrell has a followup on yesterday's post about the "Epic Bail" flight attendant: "Airline industry reporter and travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott digs up a fascinating backstory on Stephen Slater, the flight attendant who went ballistic after a rude passenger hit him in the head with his carryon luggage: 'While reporters congratulated themselves for finding Slater's MySpace and LinkedIn account, they may have overlooked the richest source of information: his apparent profile on, the industry discussion site where he goes by the handle Skyliner 747."


  1. I dunno. He sounds pretty reasonable in those selective quotes – despite the commentary to the contrary.

    Read it yourself.

  2. Seems like a guy just venting job stress.

    Sort of thing we all do. Well, maybe most of us avoid posting it to the internet, but everyone has to let that frustration out eventually.

  3. If the facts hold up and the passenger actually acted as described, I’m with the flight attendant. I would love to be on his jury. I am a retired airline pilot with 32 years of experience. Passengers all too often have no clue regarding why airliners have flight attendants on board, and how fast a situation may go from without hazard to very dangerous. Getting out on one’s seat before the airplane is stopped at the gate is a classic stupid passenger trick. The brakes are more powerful than a non pilot can possibly know, and, if one is standing when they are forcefully applied, a high speed trip down the center and into a bulkhead is in the future.

    1. Ha, I just went through Jury Selection yesterday (rejected), and I guarantee that as an airline pilot, you’d never make it onto the jury.

  4. The commentary is trying to make him sound aggressive and threatening to leave the plane, when he says exactly the opposite.
    He points out how he isnt going to pay 1000 bucks worth of fines just not to deal with carryon drama. Meaning, he wont leave the plane just to avoid dealing with stupid people.

    Yet whoever wrote that article is trying to force the idea that he would and that others should have seen it coming.

  5. maybe i’m not reading it correctly, but it sounds like his posts are saying exactly the OPPOSITE of what he eventually did: “$1,000 fine if I get off the plane. Your carry on drama ain’t worth that to me.” — sounds like he was saying that an epic exit isn’t worth the cost just for someone’s drama… no?

  6. The linked article is pretty silly -especially the closing sentiment:

    “It begs the question: Should JetBlue have seen this coming? I mean, here’s someone who appears to suggest that he’s going to jump off a plane, who seems to have some anger issues, and is fixated on luggage.”

    Were we reading the same comments? Slater sounds completely reasonable and even offers some possible solutions. A guy can’t vent a little about some very real frustrations he has with his job? On an industry discussion site?

  7. Heh, I wonder if the blog post was meant to be vaguely sarcastic and the sarcasm just flew over everyone’s heads (mine included). That’d explain a lot.

  8. I originally read the blog post as sarcasm but then none of the comments took it that way so I’m not sure what to think. The quotes from the attendant make him sound like someone who wants to be able to do his job – and his job is to make things better for everyone. Those are the folks who snap the hardest – the folks who don’t give a rat’s ass about making things better can usually just sit back and bitch about things. The ones who want to make things better will eventually get frustrated and either give up (and become someone who doesn’t give a rat’s ass) or snap.

  9. Slater will be on Letterman and heralded as a folk hero in no time. The passenger will live on in anonymity along with a lot of other Americans who suffer from a false sense of entitlement.

  10. Chris Elliot’s article is garbage, don’t bother. Another piece of crass “journalism”. ..

    that was neat. I just rechecked the article and it has been “UPDATED” with the following post-script:

    Update (1 p.m.): I’ve revised this post after receiving extensive feedback from readers, including some emails from Slater’s friends and acquaintances. My narrative voice may have been a little judgmental in the first draft, and as many commenters have mentioned, we don’t yet have all the facts. Point taken.

    Thanks Chris, apology accepted.

    1. While it’s good to see that he can change position when confronted with correction, hist usage of “first draft” puzzles me.

      Why publish a draft?

      1. And that, my friend, in a nutshell, is what is and always has been fundamentally screwed about “citizen journalism”. A properly qualified and trained journalist would, of course, never publish a “draft”.

        Long live concept blogs like BoingBoing, but the sooner the vast majority of these amateurs get bored and put away their jelly-caked keyboards, then the sooner this ever-growing shitnami of op-eds will dry up

  11. “While reporters congratulated themselves … they may have overlooked…”? This is what still separates professional reporting from blogging.

    Chris Elliott himself admits that what the reports “may have overlooked” isn’t in any way substantiated as posts belonging to the person in question. The entire blog post may be about postings from someone completely unrelated to Stephen Slater. So let’s not mistake this for news. This is some guy going off on an unsubstantiated hunch – it’s not investigative journalism.

  12. I have this idea for a film script about a grocery clerk/bouncer/valet/whatever working through law school that deals with all kinds of degradation and self-entitled rudeness from the public. Then he/she wins the lottery and goes from one hourly customer service job to the next, schooling assholes on the basic tenets of respect in epic tirades and inevitably getting fired from each one. Then something happens at the end I guess. Whaddya think?

  13. I’d be careful if I were JetBlue, because this is a PR nightmare waiting to explode.

    People are going to look at Stephen as see a folk hero. So many of us have to deal with customers on a day to day basis, and are forced to be polite to individuals who are completely unreasonable and rude.

    Let me just add I’ve been on a number of flights where people got lippy with flight attendants when they were chastised for fiddling with their luggage during taxi. The flight attendant has to tell them that they’re required by federal law to make sure the passenger stays put, shouldn’t that be enough? I really do sympathize.

  14. Having been a Flight Attendant I’m wondering why the passenger hasn’t been charged with a felony for hitting the Flight Attendant.

    Oh, and passengers of the caliber described happen on almost every other flight.

    1. I agree 100%. I also think the charges against Slater should be dismissed in view of the physical assault he’d just suffered.

      1. I mean, he did sort of deploy the slide and steal a couple beers. I’m totally with you; it was a badass way of quitting a job. But he probably did break some laws there. Two wrongs, etc. How much money did JetBlue lose during the period of time when they had to stow the slide away (how does that even work?) and get the passengers off the plane, and so on? While I’m sympathetic to our intrepid former flight attendant, it’s hard to see where JetBlue is responsible for the incredible idiocy of its customers. But whatever; he’ll pay the fines and then he’ll go on Letterman, as #10 said up above.

        But man, Stephen Slater lived the dream, huh?

  15. A New York City talk show host this morning was suggesting that from now on we use ‘deploy the slide’ as a catchphrase for “quit in disgust.” As in “I keep telling them the overnight loads aren’t working. If one of those SAME PEOPLE asks me one more time why they haven’t got reports, I’m going to deploy the slide!”

    1. I second this. Sadly, it does’t run off the tongue very easily, so I have doubts it will catch.

  16. I completely support the FA. Though a fine is in orer for deploying the chute.

    I hate people who are always placing themselves above everyone else. People like this are the reason we need hundreds of pounds of law books and cops.

    How about these suggestions: Automatic fine for getting out of your seat at the wrong time. Locking luggage bins, which can only be opened by the FA’s when cleared by the cockpit. Only one carry-on, built to fit, with an easily identified standard symbol. Overloaded overhead bins and crap stuffed under seats is dangerous and time consuming.

    And i agree with &$&, the airlines are worsening the problem with excessive luggage fees.

  17. The only thing–and I mean the only thing–he could’ve done to make his exit better would’ve been to shout “Yabba Dabba Doo!” on his way down the slide.

  18. I read through some of his posts and he sounds both reasonable and erudite. I’ve heard that he’s caring for a terminally ill parent and I think the poor guy just snapped. Could happen to the best of us after getting smacked in the head by a piece of luggage.

    He comments on carry-on luggage regulations and says: “At the end of the day, the airlines have to step it up. I hate to be 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. I have obligation to them..”

    Hope they go easy on him in court.

  19. I’m sorry, I misread the description of the incident as “a nude passenger hit him on the head..” and was unable to process any further.

  20. My late daughter was a flight attendent…it’s no longer called a “stewardess” You wouldn’t believe the kind of abuse the professional flight attendents have had to endure from some of the riders. Some like to denegrate F/A’s, like the first class passenger who staps her fingers and trills, “Oh, girl.” Congratulation, Mr. Elliot, you made your exit with aplumb. Hopefully, you’ll come out on top and maybe this will open the eyes of some who are smart enough to see that flying isn’t like being a waiter/waitress. How many times has a F/A wanted to tell a haughty customer that, “I’m here to save your ass, not kiss your ass!” Wake up people, the flight attendants don’t regulate the fares, and their companies treat them poorly, they’re the first ones who’ve had to take a cut in pay and benefits
    when the airlines are failing. Alice

  21. If the passenger truly tried to get his bag early and bonked him in the head, then I’m on Steven’s side.
    I’ve flown less than 25 times in 40 years, but if there’s one thing I think is becoming more commonplace, it’s the passengers who take the “I gotta get off this plane now” mentality to an extreme. I saw an older woman get hip-checked in the aisle once and she almost fell down between the seats.

  22. Now everybody is digging up Slaters personal info. What’s this, a public lynching?
    If you’re that curious how about digging up the information of that idiot passenger.

  23. The passenger who started the whole fracas is lucky he got off with just being delayed by Slater’s emergency chute stunt. It’s really the passenger that deserves to go to jail.

    Every time I fly I’m appalled at the bad behavior of my fellow passengers. There seems to be a cultural trend in the U.S. that says “I’m not subject to the rules.” You see this on airplanes, in traffic, hell, even in the local library.

    If there’s a public rule, like, use your turn signal, don’t talk in the library, turn off your cell phone in a hospital, remain seated until the captain turns off the light, there seem to be more and more people who feel they don’t have to abide by it.

    It’s difficult to understand why people do these things. Are they too stupid to realize that their behavior can, at best annoy and inconvenience others, or at worst, get someone killed (including themselves)? Or is it a matter of feeling so self-centered, so entitled, that they just don’t give shit about others, and can’t conceive of a negative outcome for themselves?

    1. Doggo, it comes from the top. By that, I mean national political leadership, religious leadership and heads of corporations. We, as a people have watched those at the top for the last 30 or so years poop on the rest of us every chance they get. Those people have set the example that “normal rules don’t apply” and eventually, that mentality has sunk through the populace all the way down to the lowest economic rung. If things are to change, it needs to happen at the top first. CEOs have to give their employees raises instead of giving themselves all the money in the form of a giant “bonus”. Politicians need to keep their respective genitalia in their pants and forego the de rigueur hypocrisy. Religious leaders need to return to the fundamental tenets of their respective belief structures. A grass-roots resurgence in the popularity of Emily Post wouldn’t hurt, either.

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