Updated 08/10/10 11:29 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Queens judge has granted bail for a flight attendant accused of cursing out a passenger on an airplane public-address system, grabbing some beer from the galley and exiting on an emergency slide.
Steven Slater is charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.
Defense attorney Howard Turman asked a judge in Queens on Tuesday to release him without bail. The judge instead set bail at $2,500. Slater smiled slightly as he was escorted into the courtroom.
Slater may be shipped back to Riker’s Island until someone posts the bail for him.
In arguing against bail, Turman said Slater’s mother has lung cancer.
Authorities said Slater dropped several f-bombs on a JetBlue flight’s loud speaker Monday night, grabbed two beers, deployed the plane’s emergency slide at Kennedy Airport, and then took off.
From all accounts, the 38-year old Slater simply had had enough.
Sporting a cut on his forehead from fallen overhead baggage, Slater walked out of Port Authority Police Headquarters after the incident, handcuffed with a smirk on his face and absolutely nothing to say.
But passenger Philip Catelinet said Slater had plenty to say over the plane’s public announcement system while he was on board JetBlue Flight 1052 out of Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon.
“He said, ‘to the passenger who called me a (expletive expletive, expletive) you. I’ve been in this business 28 years. And that’s it, I’m done’,” Catelinet said.
Catelinet said Slater spouted the obscenities after his flight landed at JFK from Pittsburgh International Airport. Airport authorities said Slater snapped after he argued with a passenger attempting to get overhead baggage before the plane was parked at the gate.
“You know, you don’t want to see a flight attendant lose their cool like that. I’m glad it happened on the ground and not anywhere in the air,” Catelinet said.
JetBlue officials released a statement saying: “There were no injuries and all customers deplaned the aircraft safely through the jetway. At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crewmembers at risk.”
However, the airline never acknowledged it was one of their crew members who deployed the emergency slide.
Catelinet said he ran into Slater on the Airtran and overheard him talking to another passenger about his breakdown.
“He said he had a bad day, that this passenger had set him off,” Catelinet said. “I thought it was a crazy way to quit your job. And I thought if only we could all quit our jobs so spectacularly, but not get arrested in the process.”
Several Facebook pages have been set up in tribute to Slater, with many users of the social networking site expressing support for his grand exit from his job.
Slater was arrested later at his Belle Harbor home, and chances are he won’t be checking overhead baggage anytime soon.
Have you ever quit your job in a huff and made a dramatic exit? Please click here and tell us about it on Facebook.