Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are you sick of Steven Slater yet?

Bitchy flight attendant Steven Slater's countdown clock has started running. By my count he has 14 minutes of fame remaining. But stories are now surfacing that he may have instigated the entire matter with his attitude.

And the national conversation has started. Is he a hero or just unprofessional?

Monica Hesse of the Washington Post suggests that Slater's meltdown was a inevitable. Serving passengers is, essentially, a "crummy job".
Passengers can all be divided into four types," says [a] no-nonsense attendant who has whittled the chaos of airline travel into logical precision. The four types are:

A: All About Me

B: Business

C: Casual

D: Deer in Headlights

A and D are the ones you have to look out for," the woman says. A's are obvious -- they're the ones who are demanding bottled water and a free snack box before the wheels go up. But never underestimate a D. Your typical D passenger, the spacey novice, is the one who is going to open the overhead bin and gently spread his overcoat down the length of the whole compartment. The D will not hear the sighs of annoyance from the other passengers, because the D will have already unwrapped his smelly sandwich and plugged his headphones into your seat's jack.

Incorrect, Passenger D. That move is incorrect.
So, how long before Slater signs a deal for a reality show or a beer commercial? And what should he do before his 15 minutes run out. readers weigh-in with some suggestions.

I've seen some stories that suggest that being a "stewardess" was once a glamorous job.


I guess the people writing those stories forget that back in the day, flight attendants battled their weight instead of passengers. And if they lost the battle, they lost their job. And a flight attendant could also be fired for getting married! Married flight attendants were likely to pay more attention to their husbands than to the company, airline execs reasoned.

Steven Slater isn't the first flight attendant to have had a bad day.

The profession has always had to deal with unruly passengers.

Consider this story from the Miami News on Aug. 4, 1954.

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