In the News: Cranky Customers Cause Cranky Flight Attendants. And That Just Makes Everyone Cranky.

The chatty neighbor next to me on a flight makes me cranky, too—but I won't take it out on the flight attendant

Well by now it’s practically old news. Poor flight attendant Steven Slater (yes, I say poor, and I’m sticking to it!) had just about had enough of the crankiness of certain passengers when he decided to depart the JetBlue flight into Kennedy International Airport on his own terms on Monday. The story goes that after Slater asked a passenger to remain seated until the appropriate time to get his baggage, the passenger ignored him and continued to pull down his luggage, which hit Slater on the head. When Slater asked for an apology, the passenger cursed at him. So, an irate Slater took matters into his own hands. He got on the plane’s public-address system and cursed the passenger out, all but gave his resignation, then activated the inflatable evacuation slide at a service exit and slid out of sight.

He even managed to grab a beer from the beverage cart before taking off to his home in Belle Harbor, Queens, where he was later arrested.

Unfortunately, as the NY Times article points out, this is just the latest in a string of violence and hostility between airlines and passengers. In fact, a new study by the International Air Transport Association that was quoted in the story found an increase in instances of disgruntled passengers and violence on planes, with the chief cause being passengers who refuse to obey safety orders.

So what’s the deal, people? I’m not saying every single flight attendant I’ve ever met has been all smiles and pleasantness (although, now that I really think of it, I can’t quite remember ever meeting a toxic flight attendant), or that sitting on a crowded plane with extra fees and no more peanuts is the best fun I’ve ever had either—but is that really the flight attendant’s fault? And why wouldn’t this man just stay. in. his. seat? If everyone else has to do it, why was he so special?

To add salt to the wound, a neighbor of Slater’s said that when he was not working, Slater was usually in California caring for his sick mother, as he had also done for his father when he was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Now listen, I know there are two sides to every story, but I gotta say—this one is looking a little lopsided.

My favorite is the last quote in the piece from Slater’s neighbor and a former flight attendant. “Enough is enough—good for him,” she said in the piece. “If he would have called me, I would have picked him up.”

Touche Ms. Bavasso, touche.

Bis bald friends! And please, behave on those flights!

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