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JetBlue's Slater wants to fly again

The fed-up flight attendant who abandoned his job via an emergency chute apparently wants to get back to work.

Steven Slater, 38, said through his lawyer Thursday that he loves flying.

"His hope is to return to the aviation business," his attorney, Howard Turman, told reporters as Slater stood by his side outside his home in Belle Harbor, Queens. Flying, he added, "is in his blood."

On Monday, Slater went onto the public address system after a JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh, cursed out a passenger he said had treated him rudely and then made his exit down an emergency chute at Kennedy Airport. He was arrested on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

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."

Passengers have come forward in the past couple of days to criticize Slater as brusque and cranky throughout the 90-minute trip. One passenger portrayed Slater as the instigator, saying he cursed without provocation at a woman who had asked about her bag.

Slater would not talk about 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 Slater was belligerent and said the entire affair can be blamed on a "lack of civility on the part of one passenger."

Lauren Dominijanni, 25, of Pittsburgh, said that during the trip, when she asked Slater for a wipe to clean up coffee that had been spilled on her seat, he rolled his eyes, blurted an exasperated "What?" and gestured to the gash on his head. He then told her he needed to take care of himself first, she said.

Other passengers said that through the flight he slammed galley doors and overhead bins unnecessarily and put an apparent early end to snack service.

Others said that until Slater's intercom rant his interactions with passengers appeared curt, but not unusually so in a time when flight attendants are often asked to play hall monitor.

Howard Deneroff, a radio executive for Westwood One, overheard Slater telling a passenger at the start of the flight that her bag wouldn't fit in the overhead bin and would need to be checked, but nothing about the conversation struck him as out of the ordinary.

"I didn't hear any cursing," he said. He said he also didn't hear Slater get injured.

Later, after the plane landed, he and other travelers heard Slater and other crew members repeatedly instruct a passenger to remain seated until the jet reached the gate. The traveler apparently didn't listen. Slater ultimately had to leave his seat to get the person to sit down.

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.

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