In his column titled, “Slater story highlights the demise of civilty” (Aug. 15), Leonard Pitts Jr. made a powerful argument for civility in our society in reference to the flight attendant who abandoned JetBlue via an emergency evacuation slide after allegedly being hit by falling luggage/overhead bin.
As a veteran flight attendant, here is my two cents worth: Our flight attendant training is rigorous.
How many times has one heard the flight attendant say, “we are here for your safety?” All U.S.-based crew members know the dangers of an inadvertent slide deployment, dangers such as death or severe injury of ground service personnel. This JetBlue flight attendant’s actions were unprofessional and criminal.
Public service employees get frustrated in their jobs every day. Would it be acceptable if a teacher, angry with parents or staff, walked out on the children? Would we be snickering about a police officer who, fed up with a speeding driver’s nastiness, shot his tires? Perhaps if Dave Congalton gets ticked off with callers or management, he should sabotage the phone lines?
Flight attendants are hired for their “people skills.” In addition, we are taught how to defuse angry, frustrated, frightened and/or stressed passengers. As a last resort, we are empowered to have authorities meet a flight when a passenger refuses to follow FAA/FAR regulations.
If you had been awaiting the flight with the disgruntled JetBlue employee or trying to make a connection, how upset would you be to have missed your child’s graduation, father’s funeral or top-notch job interview? I doubt you would be thinking, “Well, I completely understand. Flight attendants should never have to tolerate the flying public’s antics, that would be too professional.”
I hope the flight attendant’s union doesn’t help reinstate this flight attendant. If a passenger pulled such a stunt, he would likely be banned from flying on all United States carriers. The same fate should be his. After all, would you want to sit next to such a dangerous and unpredictable person at 30,000 feet or even at sea level? I wouldn’t.
Marcia Nelson has been a flight attendant for 39 years and lives in San Luis Obispo.