As the publicity over JetBlue steward Steven Slater's expletive-laden altercation with a traveler earlier this week continues to reach new heights, flight attendants are getting a rare chance to air their stories about abuse at the hands of passengers.
Slater, who told a traveler off over the public address system after an alleged disagreement upon landing at John F. Kennedy's International Airport on Monday -- and then left the plane via an emergency slide -- is receiving widespread support from fellow stewards.
"Dear Steven Slater," wrote the Flying Pinto. "Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for fulfilling a fantasy I never even knew I had."
"While at work this week," the post continues, "I had many fantasies. Like when passenger 31C went ballistic because I coughed. Yes, you read that right, I coughed, (covering my mouth of course) and 31C decided to let everyone in earshot know that she was now going to get sick and that I ruined her vacation."
A second cabin crew worker wrote: "From one flight attendant to another, BRAVO! BRAVO Steven Slater!"
The blogger continued: "A lot of passengers have the mentality that the rules don't apply to them and that most of the rules are just guidelines and don't really need to be enforced."
The altercation aboard JetBlue flight 1052 gave the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents 50,000 stewards at 22 U.S.-based carriers, and the International Air Transport Association, an opportunity to highlight the results of a study which found that incidents involving disruptive passengers rose between January 2007 and June 2009.
Airlines reported that disobedient travelers most often smoked cigarettes or consumed narcotics on board, as well as refused to comply with both safety instructions and requests by the cabin crew.
Physical confrontations between passengers and flight attendants were rare -- Monday's incident allegedly involved a passenger who tried to retrieve luggage from an overhead bin before the plane reached the gate.
Meanwhile, Twitterers madly debated Thursday afternoon about when and how Slater initially got a wound on his head. His lawyer said it occurred when he tried to help another passenger with a bag too big for the overhead bins.
Slater's rebellion is ringing true not just with fellow flight attendants, but with workers in all fields -- a Facebook fan page devoted to the incident has more than 190,558 people who like it, and the incident is a trending topic on Twitter (#jetblue).
If this is not enough to prove that people of all walks of life get Slater's frustration at being treated rudely, the steward -- who faces criminal charges -- has single-handedly created a new expression for exiting an unpleasant situation: "Am about to blow this pop stand #jetblue style!" wrote krissjess on Twitter. Another Twitterer wrote "I wonder if going "flight attendant" is the new "going postal?"
And flight attendants are proudly displaying cartoons on their blogs depicting a man in a suit -- his tie flying wildly -- jumping out of an aircraft holding two beers entitled, "Proper Technique for Exiting an Aircraft."
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