Emergency exit airline steward to be mentally evaluated

A FORMER JetBlue flight attendant accused of cursing at a passenger before sliding down an emergency exit chute will be mentally evaluated for a possible plea deal.

Steven Slater appeared yesterday in a New York City courtroom for a brief hearing on criminal mischief charges.

Attorneys on both sides said a deal was being discussed. Slater will be evaluated and might qualify for an alternative sentencing programme, which means he could face community service instead of jail.

Slater was also charged with reckless endangerment and trespassing after last month’s meltdown aboard a JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh that had just landed at Kennedy International Airport.

Defence attorney Daniel J Horwitz has said the passenger’s “lack of civility” prompted his behaviour.

Slater officially left JetBlue last week.

Slater, looking straight ahead with his chin held high, did not speak during his brief appearance.

He became a worldwide celebrity for days after the event. The flight attendant snapped and bolted the jet via the chute – with two beers in hand.

Online groups canonised him as a hero or vilified him as a cranky brat.

Slater’s publicist, Howard Bragman, said they would look at possible employment opportunities after the case is completed.

Bragman said Slater has spent the past few weeks visiting his mother in California. “He’s doing great, all things considered,” Bragman said.

Slater got into a verbal altercation with a passenger first and then told off the entire plane on the public address system. It is understood the row began when a female passenger tried to remove luggage from an overhead compartment even though the plane was still in motion.

Slater asked the woman to take her seat but she continued to try and retrieve her luggage when baggage fell on top of the flight attendant and struck him on the head.

Slater asked the woman to apologise but was told to “go fuck yourself” and was called a “motherfucker”.

A fuming Slater got on the flight’s PA system. He grabbed the intercom and said: “To the passenger who called me a motherfucker, fuck you.”

He then cursed out at everyone on the plane before taking beers and activating the emergency chute and sliding off the plane.

He reportedly said “there goes 28 years” service before he took the plunge.


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