On Monday, on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater decided he had had enough, the authorities said.
After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective.
Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.
Read Fed-Up Flight Attendant Makes Sliding Exit in NYT.
Hell, on a recent local flight I wanted to open the emergency exit and leap out of the plane, and we had just taken off. It was the most unruly flight I’d ever been on, and I’m not referring to the chaos wrought by the airline policies that led to the pilots’ strike, I’m referring to the passengers. They had just come from a conference, and either they’d been drinking or had gone to a shooting range without earplugs, because they were yelling at each other the whole trip. They were having conversations with people ten rows away, I’m not kidding, and strolling around like it was Sunday at the mall.
(Also, in order to open the emergency door you have to have a bulkhead seat and there’s an extra charge for those now.)
I always ask for an aisle seat so I won’t feel trapped, okay, but the large noisy man on my left was sitting with his legs wide open so half his bulk was taking up my legroom. Perhaps he was doing splits in preparation for his role in The Nutcracker Suite. What I did was, I crossed my right leg over my left (de cuatro) so the sole of my sneaker was resting against his knee. He had to withdraw his leg, or spend the flight cleaning the underside of my shoe with it. Too bad I wasn’t wearing spiked football shoes. You can only do this with sneakers or boots, and while wearing pants; if you’re in a skirt and heels they’ll think you’re coming on to them (gross).
Fortunately I always fall asleep on flights, it’s a talent. I woke up as the plane was descending, and that’s when I noticed that the man next to me was using his cellphone, and had probably been texting throughout the flight. Somehow I knew that protest was futile. (I remember a flight to Seoul—the minute the plane touched down people got up and opened the overhead bins. The flight attendant screamed, “Sit down!!!”)
And unlike that incident some years ago when a columnist complained about her fellow passengers, this was not exactly a class issue. I Am elitist, but this was not about the well-shod (the well-shod who can’t afford business class) oppressing the downtrodden, much less the hardworking Filipinos who toil in foreign countries. My fellow passengers were public officials. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa