JetBlue Flight Attendant Arrested After Emergency Exit

A JetBlue flight attendant was arrested on Monday at his home after causing a scene at Kennedy International Airport, where he took off from a plane through the emergency-evacuation chute following an argument with a passenger who refused to obey airline rules.

Steven Slater, a 20-year veteran of the flight attending career, was charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment after the airport incident, which occurred just as the JetBlue flight 1052 from Pittsburgh was preparing to allow passengers to disembark.

According to accounts by an officer, Slater tried to stop a passenger who started to take his luggage from the compartment even before the signal was given to do so. However, instead of heeding Slater’s instruction to return to his seat, the passenger cursed at the flight attendant and went on to get his luggage, hitting Slater in the head.

Slater then went to the public address system and berated the passenger. He concluded his tirade by saying “It’s been great!” then he activated the emergency exit, grabbed a beer from the beverage container, and left the plane. JetBlue failed to report the incident until about 20 minutes later, allowing Slater to drive home from the airport to his Belle Harbor home, where he was arrested and brought to a Port Authority building at the airport.