Flight Attendant Resigns Mid-Air, Takes 2 Beers & Leaves Via Emergency Slide

The legendary tale of how frustrated flight attendant Steen Slater quit his job and left in wonderfully nonchalant style.

Flight Attendant Resigns Mid-Air, Takes 2 Beers & Leaves Via Emergency Slide

Image: 9News

We’ve heard some wild travel stories in our time — from the man who urinated all over business class to a Chinese time traveller waxing lyrical mid-flight — but this might just be the most shamelessly weird one to date: on August 9th, 2010, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater quit his job in pretty dramatic style.

Sliding down the plane’s emergency escape slide while the aircraft was stopped near New York Airport JFK’s terminal gate, Slater claimed that this actions, which quickly became a media phenomenon, were inspired by a rude customer who became the veritable straw that broke this flight attendant’s back…

WATCH: Flight Attendant Survives 30,000 Feet Fall From Plane Without Parachute

How Did Slater’s Exit Unfold?

The then 38-year-old Slater had been working a flight from Pittsburgh to New York and, towards the end of the journey, became involved in a verbal altercation with a passenger who began to throw insults and abuse at Slater as they “discussed” luggage.

While witnesses have disputed the severity of the argument, the outcome remains unchanged: Slater took to the plane’s PA system, threw a curse word at the passenger in question, and then said the inimitable phrase:

“I’ve been in this business for twenty years. And that’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done.”

Steven Slater

Then, he took two beers from the beverage trolley, deployed the emergency exit, and slid down the slide and out onto the JFK runway. In a slightly embarrassing turn, he then realised he’d left his bags on the plane, scrambled up the slide to grab them, and then fled down the slide once again before driving home to Queens.

Actions Have Consequences

Slater, who ironically enough is himself the son of a pilot and flight attendant, was immediately taken into police custody for his unwarranted use of the emergency slide. After posting a US$2,500 bail, Slater left jail and found instant if fleeting fame across America and around the world.

Image: Racked

Becoming an icon for overworked people everywhere, Slater was sure to milk his 15 minutes of fame, making several appearances on national talk shows, endorsing a number of products, receiving offers to appear on reality TV and even being honoured with Facebook fan pages, the highest societal honour available in 2010…

Later that year, however, he was forced to face the music and plead guilty to two counts of attempted criminal mischief while facing additional charges of reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing. Though he was ultimately spared jail time, he had to undergo regular mental health and substance abuse counselling sessions for the following year.

Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, had this to say of Slater:

“My own view of the situation was that Mr. Slater was humiliated by what he perceived as degrading working conditions, and he had a level of rage at that time that was exacerbated perhaps by alcohol consumption and maybe by other contributing stress factors.”

Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown

Slater was also made to pay US$10,000 to JetBlue in order to replace the emergency chute, which doubtless took quite a chunk out of his media money. While the exit may have been epic, was the fallout worth it?