Fed-up JetBlue flight attendant says he wants to return to the skies
NEW YORK -- The flight attendant who abandoned his job via a plane's emergency chute has apparently reconsidered his decision.
Steven Slater, 38, said through his attorney Thursday that he loves flying and wants to go back to work.
"His hope is to return to the aviation business," Howard Turman told reporters as Slater stood by his side outside his home in Queens. Flying, he said, "is in his blood."
Slater's career appeared to crash Monday when he went on the plane's public address system after a JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh, cursed out a passenger he said had treated him rudely and then made an I'm-outta-here exit down an emergency chute at Kennedy Airport. He was arrested.
Asked about Slater's desire to return to work, JetBlue spokesman Mateo Lleras said: "As of right now, he has been released of duty pending the investigation. There's nothing more I can say."
Slater's actions have prompted an outpouring of support from people who have fantasized about making a similar exit from an unpleasant job, although passengers have said this that he was brusque and cranky throughout the 90-minute trip.
Marjorie Briskin, 53, told the Wall Street Journal that Slater launched an unprovoked expletive at a female passenger after she had inquired about her bag, which had been checked at the gate when it couldn't fit in a storage bin.
"It really blew my mind. It was so inappropriate," Briskin said. She described Slater as "disturbed."
Another passenger, Howard Deneroff, said that Slater said over the intercom that a passenger had just cursed at him, then he cursed at the passenger, thanked the rest of those aboard for being civil and said he was through with the job.
"The people next to us were like, 'Welcome to New York,' " Deneroff said.
Slater would discuss his actions Thursday. He smiled silently for most of the 10-minute news conference, then offered a brief thanks to the public, saying, "It's been amazing, the support and love . . . everything that's been brought to me."
Turman denied that Slater was belligerent and said the affair can be blamed on a "lack of civility on the part of one passenger." Some passengers said he might have been bothered by an injury. They said he had a large cut or welt on his head -- sustained, his attorney said, when he tried to help a passenger with a bag too big for the overhead bins.
Some authorities said that Slater had grabbed at least one beer from the jet's galley before jumping out. Turman denied that his client had been drinking during the flight.
Slater faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.