Police arrested a JetBlue flight attendant today at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after he got into a verbal altercation with a passenger and then fled the scene by sliding down the plane's emergency evacuation chute.
It all happened as the plane pulled into the gate at JFK after what had been a routine flight from Pittsburgh. But shortly after landing, a passenger stood up as the plane was taxiing to the gate and began removing his bags from the overhead bin. According to the Wall Street Journal's Sean Gardiner, the flight attendant, identified as Steven Slater, asked the passenger to return to his seat.
A "heated" exchange ensued, which culminated in Slater walking to the rear of the plane, where he grabbed the intercom. "To the passenger who called me a motherf***er, f*** you!" Slater yelled, passengers tell the New York Daily News. "I've been in the business 28 years. I've had it. That's it." He activated the emergency chute and slid away.
Slater then walked along the jetway into the terminal, where he took a shuttle to the employee parking lot. Observers watched as he ripped off his JetBlue tie and threw it to the ground. Slater got into his vehicle and drove to his home in Queens. According to the New York Times' Ray Rivera, he was arrested shortly afterward and faces charges of criminal mischief and trespassing.
A source tells WNBC that Slater was "having a bad day."