Steven Slater, Dental Hell and the Death of Civility in Air Travel.


The outrageous JetBlue incident last week brings back memories. And they’re not necessarily good.

Used to be when the last squadron jet of the day’s flying reported in on the tower frequency, a very surly Bad Jimmy Williams would step out of his Operations Officer cubicle and without a word, he’d open the padlock on a large refrigerator in the back corner of the Flight Ops lounge, glare at us waiting Lieutenants, then stalk off.

That signaled  that the “Beer Box” (presumably derived from “ice box”) was officially open, which also opened the lounge for an impromptu happy hour and flying story session. After beers all around, we’d discuss the day’s flying and eventually the conversation would meander into all manner of B.S. stories.

Although he wasn’t a pilot, Dr. Love (yes, that was his real name) often would wander over from the Dental Clinic, knowing he could poach a beer or two before heading home. Which was fair, because he lived near us and we drank plenty of his beer whenever possible.

For whatever reason, he felt like he had to add a dental war story to the absurd flying tales being spun and although that was largely irrelevant, one thing he said I’ve never forgotten.

“Well,” he drawled, contemplating his half empty beer can, “I used to be so careful when I was doing dental work on a patient.”

The room fell silent. What the hell could he possibly say next? Please make him say and I’ve only gotten more careful and caring as time goes on, because we all have to go to the Dental Clinic sometime.

“But you know what I learned?” he asked, studying the Budweiser label (there were only a few brands of beer available there on The Rock in the South China Sea). He paused for effect. “I learned, people heal. You don’t have to be so careful.”

Note to self: never see Dr. Love at the Dental Clinic. But beyond that, there’s a real point:

Dr. Love deliberately contributes to everyone’s lore of dental hell. Which only perpetuates the problem, reinforcing not only the fear of dentistry, but also escalating spiral of outrageous dental tales.

People only want to tell a story about a “horrible” dental experience. No one wants to tell–or hear–a story about a pain-free, simple dental procedure.

The same is true for air travel nowadays: everyone needs to tell a horror story now at happy hour. Ten hour tarmac delays with no food, crying babies, and overflowing toilets (not physically possible unless there’s actually over fifty gallons of human waste added during the delay) and passengers dying.

That’s the stuff of legends, and perhaps Steven Slater is the new “Dr. Love.”

On the day he snapped, cursing a passenger on the P.A., blowing an escape slide, grabbing a couple beers and sliding off the jet, Slater negated the day’s work of his peers–just like Dr. Love did for his dental clinic and fellow dentists.

Because on that same day, thousands of flight attendants were treated rudely by thoughtless, boorish passengers.

But they didn’t snap. They didn’t blow a slide. And though many likely wanted to, they didn’t curse their passengers, at least not out loud.

Instead, they did their jobs, under trying circumstances with unreasonable passengers and onerously long work days. You didn’t read about the flight attendants who that day–like every day of the year–perform CPR on a passenger in cardiac arrest at 30,000 feet. Nor the ones who helped the very young or very old with the extra attention that they need above and beyond the normal passenger services so that they can get where they need to go safely.

No, the headlines were only about the one flight attendant who blew up–and quit being a flight attendant. Which I say discounts and devalues all those who didn’t. Those remembering Dr. Love’s “healing” philosophy project it onto the thousands of dentists who do care about their patients.

And the thousands of passengers who were treated kindly by their cabin crew nonetheless have their radar scanning for a Steven Slater rogue to spin into a cocktail yarn or a “Good Morning America” interview.

That’s life and moreover, that’s popular culture. Don’t get me wrong; I know thousands of flight attendants nationwide cheered the actions of Slater. But in the fantasy sense of wow, what a great gesture. The public is too often rude, surly, inconsiderate and they get away with it.

Because  in air travel, this:

Has given way to this:

. . . and so this

Has devolved into this:

Funny stuff for tall tales, late night talk show monologues and silly YouTube tribute songs.

But a sad commentary on both popular culture and those who comprise its storytellers and listeners. And even worse, it’s an accurate commentary on both the traveling public and the norms of behavior en route.

Every profession has its Dr. Loves. Unfortunately, the rest of the profession suffers the derisive connotation of the rogue’s actions  regardless of the reality of their work, which pales against the backdrop of popular culture that rewards outrageous behavior.

Not sure what ever happened to Dr. Love or what will become of Flight Attendant Slater. But both are hard to forget, for all the wrong reasons.

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85 Responses to “Steven Slater, Dental Hell and the Death of Civility in Air Travel.”

  1. Thank you! Your words and insight on this situation are brilliant! Unfortunately, too many people are branding him a hero…

  2. Kathryn Gilchrist Says:

    Thanks for your recent post! As you know I was a former flight attendant at another major carrier for 15 yrs. and the same thing happened to me. After landing and coming to the gate a passenger was quick to jump up and start rummaging through an overhead to retrieve her items. In her haste she dropped her belongings from the overhead and they landed on my head. What I can remember is that I didn’t know what had hit me and was in a daze. To give a visual …. I felt like a cartoon character that had an anvil land on its head and then the head popped out of its neck! Turns out the accident herniated a disc in my neck and I lost feeling in my right hand and arm and was in extreme pain. The passenger asked if I was ok….and since I was in a daze (probably concussion) could not respond and she gathered her belongings and deplaned. Although we were on the ground I chose not to go nuts and pull a slide with beers on the side! I continued my job as a flight attendant on the next leg of the trip because if I had called in the injury I would have been forced to stay and go to a hospital thousands of miles from my home. I continued in extreme pain and the same level of service to the customers as I had before the accident. After neurosurgery and rehab on my neck, I had feeling back in my right arm/hand and no more pain but the addition of donor bone, titanium plate and four screws to fix the damage that was done by the traveling public. In my time as a flight attendant I went to the aid of a passenger experiencing a small heart attack, another fainting in front of me and the cockpit door, another having a seizure and finding a doctor on board to assist in a life and death situation. I have also kept an irrate passenger from hitting another when she spilled a drink on him and later had him arrested and the FBI called to thank me as this was his 3rd offense and he was going to jail. I handled all this in a professional manner and numerous passengers handed me business cards in support. Unfortunately, the airline that I worked for would not allow me to return to my job as a flight attendant post surgery and I no longer have flight benefits because I am currently not contributing to the company….all due to a passenger who dropped the bag and exited the airplane!

  3. Angie Ekstrom Says:

    You are very right Chris. People are being rewarded for being rude idiots. Case and point, all of Tiger’s girfriends and if you are rude enough, idiotic enough and just plain nasty, you’ll get a reality show!

  4. Interesting take on popular culture. I also feel there is too much emphasis on one example of bad behavior in any profession. There is no clearinghouse for tales of good behavior. I truly enjoyed your reminisces about flying and the beer box. Although my flying days are long behind me I still cannot forget the professional camaraderie of aviators. Thank you for your voice of reason.

  5. Even at 30,000 feet, it is a two-way street. While Slater is culpable, so are the idiots who stink of stale cheap perfume and sit next to you, bring salami-and-garlic sandwiches onboard, cheat the boarding line by “not knowing” we board by row or group, stuff their wakeboards in the overhead bin so we can’t carry on our legit bag, and drag their hacking, snot-ridden brats into the flying rebreathing apparatus called airliner. If, as he claims, the passenger was a douchebag, I say more power to him! If not, throw the book at him.

  6. Beverly Hillbillies? Try instead pouting, self-centered, unreasonable crybabies who think the world exists for them and their “rights” to the exclusion of others. As a parent of a child who works in a service industry, I get to hear the stories of such rude, inconsiderate people. Air travel is not the only place such incivility exists.

    • You’re right, of course. And those in the service industry hanging in there are doing what needs to be done rather than what would feel good at the time, as Slater did.

  7. Very good point. People love the drama, don’t they?

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  8. I’m one of the people who is enchanted by Steven Slater’s story, but I really enjoyed reading a different take on it (for once) and being made to look at it from a different (and more down-to-earth) perspective.

    I completely agree with you, too. I just… really love The Steven Slater Saga. I never can have just one opinion about something.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m intrigued by it; it’s one of those things that could go either way.

    • I am wondering how all the soldiers who are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan feel about a jerk like Slater being called a hero…I think they ought to feel pretty put off by it.

      • Amen. In my mind, heroes are those who put themselves in harms way for the benefit of others: police, firefighters, first responders and all of our armed forces. Slater basically took himself “out of harm’s way,” leaving others behind. What could have happened if a small child had decided to follow him out the door?

  9. he is a loser not a hero but you’ve got to admit the whole taking the “chute” thing was pop culture genius. I’ve always wanted to slide down one of those slides.
    Blog post for my thoughts on this whole mess http://monkeybusiness1.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/flight-attendant-steven-slater/

  10. I totally agree – what have we become as a society? There’s tons we’ll accept in “trying” situations like air travel and in hospital that we’d never accept otherwise.
    And you’re so right – we seem to eat up the horror stories with a spoon and wave off the pleasant stories with a yawn. My personal contribution to the ‘right’ way – I never tell the whole story of my kids’ births. It would make for good entertainment but I don’t want to give my kids a complex.

    As a side note – I’ve never had a particularly bad flight (I even had a great omelet on a Lufthansa flight) and I love my dentist!
    Thanks for the post!

  11. Call me judgmental but there has to be something missing in a person’s life if they truly believe this d*ckhead going postal was a heroic act. Isn’t this where training and personal discipline is supposed to kick in?

  12. Thanks for stating your view of this event as someone in the industry. I can’t speak for the general public, but I for one don’t think less of flight crews in general because of what happened with Steven Slater this week. If anything, I have more admiration, because if he flipped out like that, things must’ve been really bad.

    Please don’t feel you need to emphasise the sterling work done by people who work with the public in general and the airline industry in particular. Most people recognise this and those who don’t are precisely the types who make life difficult for crew and passengers.

    I believe people have responded they way they have, including myself, because there’s a runaway train called bad manners and selfishness in this society, which shows no sign of stopping. We are all sick and tired of it and although, ironically, Slater behaved badly, it felt for a moment like a fight back, however ineffective it may have turned out to be in the end. If he had done something like this mid-flight, however, I think this would’ve been a very different story.

  13. […] whose blog JetHead shares another perspective on life in the skies.  Here’s a snippet of his post on the Slater situation: On the day he snapped, cursing a passenger on the P.A., blowing an escape slide, grabbing a couple […]

  14. David Yamada Says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I took friendly issue with some of it in my blog, Minding the Workplace. Here’s the link to what I wrote:
    http://newworkplace.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/the-meaning-of-steven-slater/

    Best,
    David Yamada

    • You raise some good points in your blog, David. Thanks for sharing and reading.

      • David Yamada Says:

        BTW, the Beverly Hillbillies pic is hilarious. (Please take pity on we passengers who are struck in the middle seat between Jethro and Mr. Hathaway, though a seat next to Ellie May would be okay.)

  15. I’m rooting for Slater as well. Since 9/11 we’ve heard so many stories about passengers misbehaving and causing planes to make an unplanned landing at the nearest city, sometimes while being escorted by F-15s. Lots of people who are inconsiderate of others and rude to the extreme. They cause great cost to the airline and fellow passengers (in cases of unplanned landings), yet most of the time these idiots will receive not much more than a slap on the wrists.

    Maybe the media should publish the name of the rude passenger who violated procedures and refused to obey Slater’s orders. That’s really the person who should be bombarded with tons of mail (and most of it unfriendly).

  16. It’s nice to read a more grounded (ha! irony) view of Slater. However I think the parallel between Slater and Dr Love is flawed. People generally don’t have horror stories about flight attendants–it’s much more likely the airline horror story is about fellow passengers. Slater’s story actually highlights the grace under pressure that the vast majority of airline attendants maintain every day.

  17. tavaenergy Says:

    Great piece and well said. I believe that you can judge the caliber of a person by how they react under pressure. It’s easy to be a professional – all calm and cool – when things are going your way…it’s not so easy when things get tough. It takes a much bigger person to remain calm and collected when times are bad. And those are the people I respect the most. Not someone who flips out on a bad day. And it concerns me that now this type of behavior will be “copy-catted” just to get five minutes of fame. (Thanks to the media)

    If I was on a plane that was going down I would not want Steven Slater to be the flight attendant.

  18. blackwatertown Says:

    I have sympathy for the air steward’s action (notwithstanding Napalm’s assertion). People occasionally do lose it. A momentary lapse in an otherwise unblemished career. (I admit that I don’t know whether this applies in this case.) Customers should not feel that they have carte blanche to abuse staff.
    But also – all credit to the air crew who do not lose it and help and avert problems without making a fuss every day.

  19. You are absolutely correct. I was a customer service rep for a book manufacturer for ten years and the customers only remember the Dr. Loves or Steven Slaters, never the ones that just took it and did their jobs.

  20. Handsome Matt Says:

    I don’t know the full story so I can’t comment with any sense of authority but:

    Can you blame him?

    You highlight that thousands of other flight attendants did their job without complaint. You didn’t mention the thousands of rude customers who deserved to be told off. Or worse, the millions who forget that flight attendants, and those in similar situations, are people. Who deserve to be treated with a modicum of respect.

    I can’t really blame Dr. Love either. Getting dental work done hurts no matter how good the dentist is. Why take the extra time and effort if the end result will always be the same?

    We’re a selfish culture and people are reaching their breaking points with it all. That’s what we should learn.

    • When someone is probing around my mouth with pointy tools and drills I want them to be someone who actually gives a crap, and is doing their best, and when pain is involved they should try to lessen it.
      What if Dr. Love took the “they’re going to hurt anyway” thing further and just got really complacent and uncaring in general, and messed up someones mouth? because he didn’t put in the time or effort.
      No one knows if the end result will always be the same.

      We are a selfish culture, and people are reaching their breaking points, but we push them even more by making reality tv shows glorifying their bad behaviour, they’re encouraged to break.

      • Handsome Matt Says:

        I’m drawing a line between doing your job and not doing your job. What I was saying was why do an excellent job when you’re going to be treated like you did a mediocre job. I’ve been in those situations before, and even I (who takes great pride in his work) found myself not caring as much.

        But we’re missing a larger issue: Flying sucks.

        We’re making statements about individuals need for or lack of respect, but we’re ignoring the glaring lack of respect paid to customers by the airlines themselves…

        Lastly, if people weren’t watching/demanding those shows they wouldn’t be on the air.

      • That’s a good point, and here’s why flying sucks:

        https://jethead.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/senator-schumer-and-the-myth-of-cheap-air-travel/

        The flying public demanded–and Washington provided, via dissolution of the CAB and Deregulation–dirt cheap air fares. Problem is, the product isn’t cheap at all. And consumers pay out the butt for other stuff:

        https://jethead.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/the-truth-about-airline-ticket-prices/

        The public wants Neiman Marcus quality at WalMart prices. How’s that working out so far?

      • Handsome Matt Says:

        Interesting reads, both articles. It doesn’t help that many airlines, like banks, are still operating with a regulated industry mindset. The hub-spoke model isn’t feasible anymore. While European flight has more fees, they also have more regional carriers operating out of smaller airports.

        I think one of the high cost/high stress issues is the incomprehensible flight routes and setups. When I book a flight, my blood pressure starts to skyrocket; by the time I get to the airport I’m ready to grab two beers and pull an emergency slide.

  21. I wasn’t sure what to think about him, but it’s certainly not behaviour to be glorified.
    I understand his frustration, he probably felt disrespected and undervalued, and he might’ve been having a really screwed week already.
    But he’s damaged the reputation of JetBlue and flight attendants in general, he delayed the next flight, and those slides are dangerous, and probably an expensive pain in the arse.
    He could’ve broken his ankle on the way down.
    And he’s a recovering alcoholic – grabbing beer on the way out is not a good thing.
    I reckon he’s already becoming a bit of an attention whore – I hope his 15 minutes of fame are over before he gets a reality tv show or biopic.
    He’s not the hero – the people that can put up with all that crap every day and still go on and do their best are the heroes.
    This comment is so all over the place :3

  22. Very good post that raises loads of issues. Everyone has seen the quality of the air travel experience decline and everyone has a reason for it that doesn’t include them. Your post is a good reminder to us all that we have it in our power to make the experience better or worse starting with our own behaviour.

    On the Slater issue, I’m a little surprised that the passenger who caused the outburst has managed to stay under the radar.

  23. Excellent post!

    I agree with almost everything said here, both post and comments.

    BUT-

    As someone who has worked in several service industries, I just gotta’ say the customer IS NOT always right and that’s just all there is to it. I don’t care how much money they pay for whatever service, that does not entitle them to egregious rudeness, nothing entitles anyone to that. I don’t agree with what Slater did – but I can definitely understand why he did it.

    • I agree–the customer is not always right in an aircraft with Federal regs determining right and wrong. And too many people are just plain rude.

      • There has been a woman identified and questioned about the entire incident, but “her attorney” says she had nothing to do with it. Of course.

      • Exactly – and the problem is just as someone said – in an airplane you are trapped with the rude person, it’s isn’t as if you can pull over and tell them to get out of the car!

        The last time I flew was quite some time ago – 1978. (I developed a condition of the inner ear that makes it too painful for me to fly.) There had been a weather related delay on one of the stop-overs of almost 2 hours. The pilot was very good about keeping us informed. The flight attendants were wonderful, handing out cold towels and doing everything they could to make us comfortable while we waited. The delay caused us to miss our connecting flights of course. As soon as we began deplaning, there were airline employees there to meet us at the gates, helping and directing us to other connecting flights that had already been arranged for us. They double-checked our baggage to make sure it didn’t get lost. I was truly a little awed by the efficiency and service. All the employees, from the flight attendants, the pilots, and the ground personnel, they were all wonderful. The 5 or 6 times previous to that when I flew were all pleasant, uneventful flights.

        If I were able to fly though, I would be very glad the flight attendants are concerned for my safety. I like good service as well as anyone, but at 30,000 feet and 500 mph, safety should absolutely be the first concern! To me anyway, that IS good service.

        And while I’m at it *grin*, there’s another group of air travel workers I think don’t get nearly enough credit – air traffic controllers. They do a very difficult job that is all about safety.

  24. While we’ve all probably wanted to do what he did, our training and manners kept us from doing it. Like I’ve always tried to teach my kids, if you leave a job, do it honorably. Don’t burn your bridges behind you. It can come back to haunt you.

    I agree — let’s focus on the folks who get it right, not make heroes out of the ones who behave badly.

  25. I think that if people chose to make their purpose to help everyone else make their job easier, we would have a great planet full of happy and helpful people.

    Flying to Hawaii at the end of the month with my mom any helpful tips? I’ve never flown Hawaiin Air or been to Honolulu airport.

    Ivonne

    • Have a great time in Hawaii–there are a couple of blog entries that have travel tips in the past couple of months posted here. I know you will have a smooth trip because you have such a great approach to life.

  26. Very interesting post. People consider it normal as long as everything is fine and just as they expected, but always rant when something goes wrong. These stories are popular… On the other hand, who wants to hear about an experience that turned out fine? No, it’s better to find someone to blame and rant about.

    That’s human nature, I guess.

  27. Some people approach flying with a Zen-like attitude. God Bless ’em, is all I can say. Others are rude and vulgar, while others approach flying with a sense of entitlement – especially some frequent fliers. My own personal approach? The Walter Mitty approach – I work out my frustrations in my head – it doesn’t hurt anyone and it makes me feel better.

    http://cafegirlchronicles.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/the-9-most-annoying-things-that-happen-up-in-the-air/

    • I really enjoyed your blog entry. And you are wise to profile in line to avoid the tangle of unprepared, distracted and low-functioning travelers who clog up everything from security to the crowded concourse (notice how they just stop dead in their tracks in the middle of flowing foot traffic?) to the boarding process and even on board, fumbling with their carry-ons as others wait to board.

      One good defensive measure you can try on board is interference: either earbuds that imply you’re listening to music and can’t/don’t want to talk to a seatmate, or disposable earplugs that send the same message. If you use earplugs, you’ll notice that you experience less fatigue from the flight (the noise level is wearing) and will find the flight more peaceful, too.

  28. I could not agree more. This is a classic tale ref. Slater of someone behaving badly and then becoming a ‘hero”. Ridiculous!

  29. Don't Flame me, Please Says:

    I agree with everything you said, but I can’t help noticing some of the things you didn’t say. For example, in addition to rude, boorish passengers who mistreat flight attendants (and there are plenty of those), there are also rude, boorish flight attendants who mistreat passengers, and some who take advantage of their FAA-granted powers to intimidate and abuse the passengers they should be serving and protecting. Yes, there are thousands of professional flight attendants, but the rude and abusive ones are not just cocktail-party anecdotes; any frequent flyer encounters bad flight attendants on a very regular basis, and many passengers have learned to look upon flight attendants more as police officers to be feared than as professionals to be relied upon. The phrase “we are primarily here for your safety” is code for “sit down, shut up, obey us, and don’t expect very much,” and everybody knows it.

    More significantly, Airlines have allowed this attitude to flourish as a safety valve for flight attendant frustration; airlines would rather have flight attendants take out their bitterness on passengers than on the airline itself, and it is cheaper to allow flight attendants to boost their egos by pretending to be nothing but safety professionals, who don’t need to provide any other form service, so the airlines don’t have to boost their egos by paying and treating them well (and, in return, insisting that they treat their passengers well). It is a downward spiral, and it was not one that was started by boorish passengers.

    Steven Slater intentionally caused thousands of dollars damage to his employer (it will probably cost Jet Blue more to re-install and re-inspect that slide than if Slater had taken the cockpit axe and smashed a window); he scared and endangered passengers on his aircraft by leaving a gaping hole in the cabin; and he could have injured or killed any innocent ramp employeee with the bad luck to be standing below the R-1 door.

    Airlines have tolerated and contributed to the lack of discipline and professionalism demonstrated by Steven Slater by allowing cabin crew to treat passengers in increasingly abusive ways with impunity, and it should be no surprise that this attitude has now come back to hurt the airline itself.

    • Unless you’re in airline management yourself, you really don’t have a valid claim that management allows flight attendants to abuse authority as a safety valve. Of course, there are rude, boorish employees in every field. And there are frustrated employees in a field where pay has been steadily reduced and workload increased. You seem to think flight attendants are predominantly abusive; I disagree based on the past 25 years of working side-by-side with them.

      • Don't Flame me, Please Says:

        No, I don’t think flight attendants are “predominantly” abusive; I think the good ones far, far outnumber the bad ones. But the airlines have created a culture in which those flight attendants who do fail or refuse to provide service to passengers (or who go out of their way to remind passengers that they are there for safety, and nothing else) are rarely punished or disciplined for this attitude. This leads to a “We can abuse passengers” mentality, perhaps not among a “predominant” number of flight attendants, but among enough that every now and again there will be a Steven Slater who takes things way too far. (And enough to create an adversarial relationship between cabin crew and passengers, which contributes to the downward spiral of mutual rudeness by both passengers and crew.)

        The airlines have been mistreating both employees and passengers for years; the employees are often overworked, underpaid, and treated with pettiness, and the passengers are treated like worthless cattle both by airline policies and by many airline employees (from reservation agents to gate agents to cabin crew). Airlines can’t create miserable passengers, and bitter employees, and then stick them in a tube together to confront each other, and think they have created an environment which is optimal for safe operations (let alone comfortable or enjoyable ones).

      • Again, what is your basis for saying that flight attendants are rarely punished for abusing passengers? Are you either a flight attendant or a flight attendant supervisor? I know what you’re saying is not true at my airline.

  30. slater has had his 15 minutes. enough already.

  31. Great blog – your points are well taken. In my work as a counselor/therapist, I sometimes am asked to serve people who are quite literally my hostages, if I may use the term. Sometimes people are court-mandated to therapy for anger management, domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, etc. And 9 times out of 10, the people don’t want to be there and are hostile, at worst, to dismissive, at best, toward me and my professional duties. So, I am obligated by my professional ethics, which strongly believe in, to always be professional, respectful, and appropriate. This demeanor must be maintained regardless of the situation, the individuals involved, and whatever’s going on in my personal and/or professional life outside that client interaction.
    I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINTS AND AGREE COMPLETELY. THANKS FOR THE GOOD WORK YOU DO, YOU ARE APPRECIATED.

  32. Doron Honig Says:

    Great Blog.

  33. I am so glad that I am not the only one who thinks Slater was out of line. Flight attendants deserve much more respect than what they are given but not because they are like Slater. They deserve respect because most of them are the complete opposite.

  34. Excellent post. Why people act as if they were raised in a barn is beyond me. Good manners, people!

  35. I agree on all counts. The particular phenomena of service employee stereotyping is a particular pet peeve of mine.

    However, I think that this particular incident sits in the world’s consciousness as an employee who left his job sliding gloriously out of the secret escape hatch in his office with a couple beers in hand than an attendant flipping out.

  36. Great Post! A common and classic story, well said though. Clearly a good output and overview on things.

  37. Everyone is somebody’s whipping boy when you get right down to it. I work with flight crew every day and have experienced the same rudeness and sense of entitlement from them that passengers are accused of. Ultimately it’s part of my job, and theirs, to stick up for oneself in a professional manner, or just decide it’s not worth the energy. If I plaster a smile on my face and wish them a lovely trip they’ll have a lot less to tell family and friends about than if I run in circles, arms flailing, whilst screaming obscenities. Pardon the gross generalization, but people turn into 2 year olds when they enter the airport. If you work in the airport or on the plane, you should be prepared for this.
    And let’s pause to think kiddies, there are cameras everywhere these days, how do *you* want to be remembered?

  38. Ranto Kurniawan Says:

    yes good

  39. All I needed when I flew LHR to LAX in 2008 was a cabin attendent who would say to the regular flyers “Listen, jerks, the dude has not flown for 29 years. He desires to look at the cloud tops, the ice, and the sea. Good, he is better than you. If you cannot sleep unless it’s dark, tough, or put a bag over your head. You are pathetic weaklings. You are spoiled brats. The shutter stays up, in fact all the damn shutters go up! Put ’em UP.” But, oh well, the majority, the jerks, always win.

  40. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Since when does not being able to handle your job make you a hero? Steven Slater isn’t a hero, he’s someone who needs stress management classes and a desk job.

    Again, thank you for writing this. It needed to be said.

  41. Airline deregulation opened the clubhouse gates to the unwashed masses. People’s Express was aptly named -it sounded like something that a Soviet bloc nation would call their airline. But that was thirty years ago. The problem now is the general coarsening of the culture, the loss of civic virtues, and the elevation of the groundling to the King’s box. Snooki is the Grace Kelly of our post-Periclean age. Go watch Idiocracy which brilliantly encapsulates these themes.

  42. Why wasn’t the passenger charged with violating FAA safety regulations for being in the aisle when told that was not allowed? Vigorous enforcement of that rule would stop the foolishness of those folks who think their time is sooooo important.

  43. I am pleased to be visiting on this great blog-awaited return visit

  44. Nice article. It’s a shame that passengers are not more civil to flight attendants (or each other). Sometimes we all have to take a step back and remember that “random acts of kindness” are always appreciated and often reciprocated!

  45. Great Post, I enjoyed reading this.
    Richard

  46. Personally, I think America has become rather paranoid over air travel. The customs are just insane! 😡

  47. People only want to tell a story about a “horrible” dental experience.

    Thats True!

  48. Everything seems to be a trudge these days vocations have turned into slogs.

  49. Wonderful blog, and great comments, could you possibly drop by mine and give me a few tips in ten words if possible?

    Cheers
    joe

  50. First, I really like your site and enjoy your perspective.
    I have lamented the death of civility for many years.
    But, nowadays, I just tend to succumb and join in the misery.
    I have my own version of what happened with super douse, AKA Steven Slater, but I will send that to you separately. For now I would like to focus on the venerable Dr. Love. You see, I know Dr. Love, he was my dentist and my sons dentist for many years (you knew this was inevitable, right?) He was a terrific dentist and I found him very caring and always interested in any flying story. Sadly, he recently moved to Austin to be near his son who, I believe had suffered an aneurism. Sadder yet, his son recently died. I miss Dr. Love, and often considered actually traveling to Austin for dental work, and considering that the third crown his replacement put on has gone down my gullet again, I may just do that. (can you believe they do not stand behind their work? So if your bumper falls off your car, its on you? Really?)
    Now I am not writing to update you on the whereabouts of Dentists past.
    I’m writing to ask if any of us would ever want to be judged or remembered based on comments made during alcohol enhanced hanger flying sessions. My guess is…. NO! Think back on some of the things you might have said while partaking of the hops, swapping stories and generally measuring maleness. Please do not share! I was a cop for nearly 20 years. I pray to God that no one ever produces a tape of things said during off duty pressure release sessions!! (or on duty for that matter!)
    I do understand you were only using him as an example, and, having no way of knowing that he apparently mellowed with age (I haven’t ), so please do not think of this in any way a chastisement or pissed offnees. I just wanted to set the record straight for Dr. Love, who, by the way, would pretty much agree with what you said. People have lost civility. Ironically, he insisted on that being practiced in his office. Unfortunately, when he left, that left with him.
    Hmm. I think I need to look him up…. After all…. I DO need a new crown.

    • Not sure if it’s the same guy. And I did leave out a lot of things he did that were, uh, even more extreme.

      • blackwatertown Says:

        Following on from R Lewis – it’s a fair point about booze fuelled banter. I know the old saying “in vino veritas” but alcohol-influenced revelations, though they an insight, do not necessarily fauve a full and accurate insight. I recall working in a newsroom where the casual sectarian banter would have appalled an eavesdropping member of the public, (yet was not meant seriously, I hope). But the slightest racist tinged comment would have jarred and horrified (I also hope).
        http://Www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

      • I can recall several inflight conversations where in the silence afterward, I know the copilot’s thinking the same thing I am: we’d better not crash for at least another 35 minutes so those words we just spoke won’t be on the cockpit voice recorder when the accident board reviews it.

    • Not a good idea for me to speculate on that, other than what the scene shows: shallow impact, slow speed and a conspicuous lack of fire (which often indicates a lack of fuel).

  51. The News Media throws gasoline on these fires when the are reported. They keep it up as long as the flames soar. Many other news worthy articles were pushed aside for this story. So we, as news consumers, only hear or read the articles that sell advertising.

    When an aviation related story is announced while I watch the news, I cringe and hope it is not about the airline I work for.

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