PITTSBURGH — A flight attendant was rude to passengers and instigated the confrontation with a traveller that led to his now-notorious slide down a plane’s emergency chute at a New York airport and, ultimately, to his arrest, a pair of women aboard the JetBlue flight said.
Marjorie Briskin, 53, told The Wall Street Journal Steven Slater blurted out an expletive during an otherwise normal conversation with a passenger over luggage just after the plane landed in New York from Pittsburgh.
A young woman asked Slater which overhead bin her bag was in, and the conversation quickly and unexpectedly turned nasty after Slater slung the expletive, Briskin said.
“I didn’t think she was rude in the least,” Briskin told the Journal. “It really blew my mind. It was so inappropriate.”
Slater hadn’t emerged by Thursday from his home a few miles from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Rockaway Beach, Queens. His boyfriend, Kenneth Rochelle, said Slater was “at home, relaxing.”
Rochelle called Slater a “lovely, classy, beautiful person” who in the past had been very patient with passengers having a bad day.
Slater had a “nice gash” on his head during the flight, and when it ended began flinging open the overhead bins and slamming them shut, Briskin told the newspaper. Another passenger noted that he spent much of the 90-minute flight slamming overhead bins and refrigerator doors. “He looked disturbed at that point,” Briskin said.
It’s unclear exactly how Slater’s face was cut, though he had it as passengers boarded in Pittsburgh and joked that “they’re always trying to kill me around here,” passenger Kati Doebler said Wednesday.
Another woman, 25-year-old Lauren Dominijanni, told the Journal that Slater was immediately rude to her after she boarded in Pittsburgh. She said he “rolled his eyes at me” when she asked for a wipe to clean up coffee someone spilled on her seat.