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Letters: JetBlue Flight Attendant Steven Slater

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Listeners wag their fingers at JetBlue after hearing the story of Steven Slater, the fed-up flight attendant who snapped after dealing with an abusive passenger. Slater cursed out the passenger on the plane's PA after landing, then left the plane via emergency chute. He was later arrested. Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Melissa Block. It's time now to go to our inbox. Several of you offered strong opinions after hearing my interview about Steven Slater. He's the JetBlue flight attendant who snapped after dealing with an abusive passenger.

According to Slater's lawyer, a woman was bickering with another passenger about using the overhead luggage bins. After Slater intervened, she slammed the overhead luggage rack into his head.

NORRIS: The dispute apparently escalated and when the plane landed, Slater cursed out the passenger on the P.A. system, then activated the emergency evacuation chute, grabbed a beer from the beverage cart, and slid off the plane. He was later arrested, and charged with felony counts of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.

BLOCK: Go Steve, writes Joseph Kate(ph) of San Antonio, Texas. He continues: No one has the right to physically harm another human being. While Steve's behavior may not have been professional, the passenger's conduct was criminal.

NORRIS: And Alison Temper(ph) of New Albany, Indiana, writes this: I don't know when the attitude in the country changed from the customer is always right to the customer is completely allowed to abuse the staff.

BLOCK: But Aaron Isquith(ph) of Tucson, while agreeing the passenger's behavior was wrong, says he's encountered too many flight attendants who viewed coach passengers as customers to be put up with.

Mr. Isquith writes: Carts in the aisles blocking access to bathrooms, constant banging into the seated passengers - either with a cart or with their bodies -sodas spilling, annoyed tones of voices when the customer doesn't have the exact price for a drink. All I can think of is that the top-down communication is lousy, the flight attendants are severely underpaid, and the average passenger pays for it with indignities and discomfort.

NORRIS: If you want to share your thoughts about this subject or anything you hear on the program, you can write to us at by clicking contact us at the bottom of the page.

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