Saturday 25 November 2017

Air-rant steward 'went strop too far'

Deepti Hajela in New York

The flight attendant who had a meltdown over a fight with an agitated traveller is enjoying his folk-hero status.

Thousands of sympathisers logged on to Facebook and shrugged off allegations that he endangered others and praised him for his take-this-job-and-shove-it moment.

But the long arm of the law appears to be less understanding and prosecutors claim Steven Slater's tantrum, which resulted in him cursing over the intercom before grabbing some beer from the plane's galley and making a grand exit down the emergency slide at Kennedy Airport, was a strop too far.

Mr Slater wore a smile yesterday after his day in a state court in Queens where he was arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing, counts that carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. The judge set his bail at $2,500 (€1,942). Mr Slater exited a Bronx lockup after posting bail. "It seems like something here has resonated with a few people. And that's kinda neat," he said.

Mr Slater's attorney, Howard Turman, said his client had been drawn into a fight between two female passengers over space in the overhead bins as the Pittsburgh-to-New York flight was awaiting takeoff. Somehow, Mr Slater was hit in the head. After JetBlue Flight 1052 landed in New York, one of the women who had been asked to gate-check her bag was enraged that it wasn't immediately available, Mr Turman said.

"The woman was outraged and cursed him out a great deal," Mr Turman said. " I think he just wanted to avoid conflict with her." That's when he deployed the slide, Mr Turman said.

"Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride," he said over the plane's loudspeaker.

Irish Independent

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