Steven Slater has almost always been the top dog. As Skyliner747, he posted on aviation message board Airliners.net on January 18, 2008: “I have been flying for 11 years, 90 percent of which has been in the lead position where I have encountered every kind of boarding challenge imaginable.” So, here’s a seasoned flight attendant who’s accustomed to being in control and has seen everything that could possibly be thrown at him?
Yet, this is also the same old pro who told the New York Times he’d been thinking about his grand stunt for 20 years. Did he fantasize about grabbing a Blue Moon and siding to freedom for nine years before becoming flight attendant?
The numbers just don’t add up, adding to the list of inaccuracies surrounding his incident and career.
Fortunately, Slater doesn’t know when to stop typing on message boards. Two years later, on March 16, 2010, he explains in response to a rather rational post on Airliners.net about what flight attendant compensation does and does not include, “After 19 years of flying, I am pretty clear on what I do, and what I don’t get compensated for.”
Somehow, Slater picked up eight years of experience in two … likely the result of the profound talent that led to so much time in the lead position during his first 11 years. This also explained the additional experience – not commensurate with normal math – that he picked up from March to August this year.
Does this seem like the writing of a stable mind? We have someone who brags of extreme competency and experience, and wants his job back, yet he exhibits neither of these characteristics in his online rants or in his actions in the cabin. And, he seems unable to stick to a single version of the truth when talking about a profession that he claims is in his blood.
Nonetheless, if you believe Slater’s account of the events transpiring on the plane, despite the obvious credibility shortfall, he comes across as a hero to flight attendants around the world. Well, it seems he has trouble with some of his fans, too. He writes of them:
I am always amazed by the (fortunately few) FA’s on power trips. We know who they are, and as unpleasant as they are for the passengers, imagine the nightmare of working three days with these people in close proximity! So often, the common denominator in these altercations and passenger removals is the same FA over and over.
And, it gets better:
I have found that a little tact and diplomacy on my part goes a long, long way to making my own job much easier. “Busy” or not, unprofessionalism is unacceptable, and you don’t speak to people that way. Period.
The fact that Slater doesn’t know how long he’s been in the business pales in comparison to the lack of self-knowledge exhibited here. Tact and diplomacy? And when that fails, it’s time to get off the plane – immediately.
[Image: AP Foto/Louis Lanzano]