Eyewitness account of Jet Blue flight attendant's epic flipout

"It was when we stood up to disembark - in those annoying moments when everyone is waiting to be released from the metal can we've been packed in together - that Steven Slater commandeered the p.a. system and issued his rant. 'F--- you! F--- all of you! I'm f------ through with this! I'VE HAD IT! I've been doing this for 28 f------ years and I can't take it anymore. And for the f----- a-----who told me to f--- off: f--- you! That's it! I'm done! F--- you all!' At that point the older Catholic lady looked back at me and crossed herself, and I told her, 'No, that is not normal."—Heather Robinson, who was on the JetBlue flight where Steven Slater flipped out.


  1. Too bad we’re gonna hear from everyone *except* the more-important-than-thou jerk who hit Slater in the face with his bag. But if we do, let’s reduce his whuffie, shall we?

  2. yeah, i want to hear the other side of the story, too. the more i hear of Steven Slater, though, the more awesome he gets.

    1. The more I hear of Steven Slater, the more of a self-absorbed asshole he seems to be.

      Should old ladies be forced to endure a public display of obscenities because a flight attendant loses his professionalism?

      Were the passengers delayed? Did people miss their connecting flights? Surely the slide-exit deployment required extra handling time for the airlines — further messing up the already overtaxed air traffic control system.

      I think it’s safe to say that if we all vent our rage — if we all declare “I’m mad as hell and won’t take it any more” — this world will be a very ugly place indeed.

      1. So we should just roll over and take verbal and physical abuse from rude jerks? No thanks.

        There has to be a reasonable limit to what people in customer-service positions should be expected to tolerate. You can’t abuse a person over and over and then be shocked and appalled when they snap.

        Once a customer starts swearing or being abusive, staff should be allowed to swear back, kick them out of the store, etc. Stephen’s actions were on the gonzo end of the scale, but still not terribly surprising.

        1. I have already posted this in the other thread, but here it is again: The passenger that triggered it was a woman. At least according to today’s Der Spiegel.

          As to taking punishment in service positions:

          actually, in all the tech support jobs I have worked at, I never had to take abuse.

          First job, we even had a list of customers we were allowed to just hang up on.

          2nd job was IT support for the e-procurement department of BMD in Germany, in a whole year of service, not a single person ever went rabid. Mind you, that was all BMW employees, and I was 2nd Level support.

          3rd job was at Deloitte. There was irritated people, but 99% of these had been stuck with the (clueless) American helpdesk and became quite docile once they understood that I could and would actually help them. With the ones that kept on being angry, we had two options:

          a) “I am sorry, but if you are unwilling to co-operate, I will hang up on you.”

          b) “If you want to provide feedback about your mistreatment, I can transfer you to my supervisor.”

          1. Well you’re very lucky. Most of us don’t have a convenient set of guidelines, and in a moment where we’re very angry we have to determine whether saying something that may inflame the customer further will be acceptable or get us fired.

            “… The passenger that triggered it was a woman.”

            Soooo… what? Are you playing the “don’t cry that you got beat up by a girl” card? How terribly progressive of you.

      2. Do you really think the world would be a pretty place if we all suppressed our angers and meekly accepted being punched in the face? Perhaps Steven Slater went overboard (and I do think he did), but I think it’s foolish to say that people expressing their anger and refusing to be abused would make the world an ugly place.

        If everyone thought that way, we’d still have slavery, debtor’s prisons, women who couldn’t vote and practically every other social ill that we’ve struggled to overcome.

        Ugly indeed.

      3. >> Should old ladies be forced to endure a public display of obscenities because a flight attendant loses his professionalism?

        Perhaps those old ladies present did not endure it at all, but were amused. Thrilled even. Are you an old lady or do you just speak on their behalf?

        Your “Think of the Old Ladies” argument is just a variation on the “Think of the Children” argument. It’s a desire to reduce the world to the level of a G-rated film. It’s also a thinly veiled attempt to deflect accusations of prudery by pretending that YOU are not so close minded as to be offended, but that you are really worried about some fictional old lady and her tender sensibilities.

        It sounds positively hellish to my ears and all humans with a spirit of rebellion and the spark of life should resist that Pixar-esque anthropomorphic cartoon car-and-critter sanitization with all of their strength.

        But even if a majority of old ladies (however you define that) should decide that they find a spectacle like this one objectionable, is that really how you want to go through life? Viewing all experiences through the filter of the oldest and most easily offended old lady you can imagine?

        1. Very well said, Mr. Trotsky. In retrospect, I can’t imagine why they stuck an icepick in the head of such a reasonable fellow as yourself.

  3. For me, this is precisely the crux of the matter:

    >> Overall, it got me to thinking: in a way it’s a shame things like this don’t happen more often. Let me explain: in an age when, for good reason, authorities are constantly on the alert for terrorists and mass shooters, when any highway altercation, we are warned, can escalate into a gunfight, when eighty-year-old women are forced to relinquish their knitting needles and nursing mothers their bottles of milk at airport screening because of dread of vicious acts of brutality, Americans must restrain ourselves and behave obediently at all times in public places. Current mores leave no room, no outlet, for the venting of frustrations, or for freewheeling, spontaneous behavior of any kind.

  4. You can’t bring that many F-bombs on an airplane and not expect a run-in with Homeland Security.

  5. Whats the name of the Godwinesque rule about the relationship between how enraged you are by a story and how long you should wait before taking a side? Mybottlesup/’TSA took mah baby’ comes to mind.

  6. If old ladies cannot handle obscenities, then they should never leave their dwellings. They should also refrain from turning on their televisions at all cost.

  7. I love the whole story, and the grabbing the beers, and going down the slide, but I have a feeling the whole event was much more “fabulous” than can possibly be explained by the written word.

    And seriously, they send SWAT teams and helicopters after the guy?

  8. The man was bleeding from his head. There is no amount of bad manners that would convince me it’s not reasonable for him to cuss up a storm and fuck off in style. Hell, if I were him the other guy would probably have come off worse, so good on him for taking a higher road than I would have.

  9. Should old ladies be forced to endure a public display of obscenities because a flight attendant loses his professionalism?

    Oh, come on. ‘Old ladies’ were all young once. I’m sure they’ve gotten into some trouble, uttered some obscenities of their own and made asses out of themselves at times, just like the rest of us humans ;)

    Yeah, the guy went over the top, but how many people go postal and actually hurt or kill others nowadays? He managed his rage without injuring anyone. Heck, the only person who was *actually violent* was the abusive passenger. Stephen ranted and made a spectacle out of himself. Big deal. If I was on that plane, I would have laughed my butt off and repeated the story ad nauseum to friends and family. I’ve been delayed on flights for SO much more inane- and boring- reasons.

  10. Seriously? Crossing yourself over some obscenities? She wasn’t the trigger for it, so she shouldn’t be so upset. Sometimes we witness other people’s problems/fights/grievances. It happens. She should be glad she’s never sat next to me on an airplane.

    This story has been so sensationalized and over-reported I don’t even know what’s what anymore, but I still think Steven Slater did a service to disgruntled employees everywhere. I’d off myself after a year having to service ignorant, self-absorbed jerks that think their connecting flights and lives trump others. I can’t even imagine 28 years of it.

  11. I think it would have been better if he just went bat$*** crazy on the offending d-bag and someone videoed it. And then Slater went with the temporary insanity defense.

  12. I don’t understand what’s so laudable about this. He was mistreated by a customer, and so he did something reckless and stupid and rude to a whole plane load of people, as well as his employer. It’s totally misdirected rage.

    If you’re pissed off enough to act out in a criminal way, why not inadvertently head butt the rude customer? Then the villain pays, the rest of the plane is treated to a spectacle, and all’s well that ends well. It’s vicious without being pathetic, and it doesn’t make victims of all the innocent bystanders.

    He could even claim that he stumbled because the plane was still in motion. You know, the very kind of accident you stay seated to prevent…

    1. I think that hungryjoe has made more sense of this than anybody else has. When Slater got banged by the customer’s bag, he could have probably got away with stuffing the bag right through the offending assholes’ teeth, if he had immediately said “Gosh! Sorry, I’ll get you some ice for that!” He would have been a hero to the other passengers and still sent a message to his employers. By cursing the customers in general and otherwise screwing them and maybe f*ing up all the air traffic there for a while, he made a very poor job exit in my opinion. This used to be called a nervous breakdown. No kudos here. Lots of us have hard jobs.

      1. Sorry. Shd have been “asshole’s teeth”. Only screwup in my post that I can see. Pls no sphincter dentata wordplay.

        1. At least not an entirely ineffectual one. The flight attendant was arrested and charged for his “Take this job and shove it” moment. Now he’s jobless, and his prospects for further employment are diminished. And also, he has the prospect of jail time looming for him.

          The person who hit him with the luggage probably had a martini in the Admiral’s Club and thought, “Christ, what an asshole.” And now that person is on with his/her life, with nary another thought.

          If the person with the luggage hadn’t escaped the whole incident entirely unscathed and without repercussion, maybe I could get behind this on some level. But no.

          1. And now that person is on with his/her life, with nary another thought.If the person with the luggage hadn’t escaped the whole incident entirely unscathed and without repercussion, maybe I could get behind this on some level.


  13. I wonder … how many of those who think that Slater’s behaviour was unacceptable manage to simultaneously hold the position that “an armed society is a polite society”?

    None? Some? All?

    Good on him for totally losing his rag. And even better on him for doing so in a way that caused no physical harm or danger.


  14. It’s funny to me, but then again I’m not one of the hundreds of people who probably missed their connecting flights because of the delays this stunt caused.

  15. I like living in a world where crazy shit happens every once in a while. If flight attendants were freaking out every day, at every slight, that would be one thing. But the guy was assaulted, and this is news precisely because it’s rare. This is a tiny little bit of randomness in a huge industry of conformity. We can afford to tolerate it, even celebrate it. It’s good for us. Like eating a chip that fell on the floor every once in a while. You wouldn’t want to eat all your meals off the floor, but it’s not going to kill you, and it keeps you from getting too uptight.

  16. Well…Then…There…Now…

    Hey You, Port Authority Officials, The District Attorney and the
    “Jet Blew It Airlines!”(JetBlue Airways Corp.)…

    How about arresting “the woman passenger” ,for breaching on-board safety regulations, as she deliberately assaulted Mr Slater, arrest her.
    While law enforcers are at it, how about arresting and charging “the woman passenger” with, assault (cursing at someone) and battery (striking someone), causing public unrest and endangering crew and the other passengers.
    I am not condoning Mr Slater’s actions, but we must realize that his action was in fact a reaction, to an out of control “woman passenger”. After 28 years and a whole lot of terrible passenger behaviour, I am hardly surprised he snapped. It was an outburst against a rude, unruly and selfish passenger. It’s time people realized that flight attendants are not personal maids and not someone they can order around on a whim.

    Good for him. It’s amazing how much people have to grovel and put up with others bad behavior for in the guise of customer service. The old adage, the customer is always right is just so wrong. People see this as an excuse to abuse others as they wallow in their own self importance and know that they will receive an apology for their bad behavior. After 28 years of this I congratulate him fo being so well restrained. I’ve been on planes where people totally ignore the regulations and try and get away with bringing way too much on the plane. All they do is delay the flight. So,why do some of the general public think it is ok to talk to staff like they are something on the bottom of their shoe?!!

    In the end everyone is the same!!
    No person is better than someone else!!

    Mr. Slater is an absoloute legend!!
    This is hilarious!!
    What a way to exit your job, I Love it;
    And good on him!!

  17. It’s ridiculous that people are criticizing the attendant for being human.

    Would you be more understanding if he were a waitron who got fed up and dumped someone’s dinner on the floor or a barista who goes off on customers for adding milk to their espresso? Would the other customer’s interrupted experience even register in your thoughts? I venture to guess no. This is a case of someone getting fed up with work and exiting stage right.

    Honestly I think he should be applauded for taking a healthier route than say, opening fire and killing 8 people.

  18. I post the link to this blog in the comment section of “Airline biz message boards reveal more about “Epic Bail” Jet Blue attendant Stephen Slater” a full SEVEN minutes before you post this and get NO credit?

    Come on Xeni, where’s the love, baby?


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