Tuesday 27 June 2017

Airline worker takes emergency exit

Steven Slater lost his temper after a passenger accidentally hit him on the head with luggage on the ground at Kennedy Airport. (AP)
Steven Slater lost his temper after a passenger accidentally hit him on the head with luggage on the ground at Kennedy Airport. (AP)

An angry flight attendant who allegedly fled his airliner via the emergency escape slide after getting into an argument with a passenger has been suspended pending an investigation.

Steven Slater, 39, who downed a beer from the galley first, was freed on bail after being charged with endangering the plane and trespassing in the incident at New York's JFK International airport.

Slater was on a JetBlue flight that had landed from Pittsburgh when he got into a row with the passenger, who was pulling down baggage from an overhead bin.

The luggage apparently struck him the head and he asked for an apology, but the passenger refused.

Slater got on the public-address system and swore at the passenger. He then grabbed at least one beer, activated the slide, went down it and ran off.

Slater wore a slight smile as he was led into court in New York. The judge set his bail at 2,500 dollars.

His lawyer Howard Turman told the court Slater was under stress because his mother cancer.

Afterwards Mr Turman said the on-board dispute had begun when the flight was still waiting to take off from Pittsburgh, when two women passengers got into an argument over space in the overhead bins and Slater was struck in the head.

The dispute flared up again after the plane landed in New York when one of the women was angry that her luggage was not immediately available.

"The woman was outraged and cursed him out a great deal," Mr Turman said. "At some point, I think he just wanted to avoid conflict with her."

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