JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater tries to turn 15 minutes into 20

Okay, so you know by now that Steven Slater has hired a heavy-hitter publicist. The JetBlue flight attendant who grabbed some road beer before popping the emergency slide and driving for freedom in Queens clearly can’t go back to his old job, so he’s looking for some alternatives. There is talk of reality show action, but Howard Bragman, the big name representing Slater, notes that they have some … ummm, legal … matters to get out of the way first.

Bragman has some experience with Slater’s ilk, having rep’ed such “instant celebrities”, according to The Hollywood Reporter, as Monica Lewinsky and Oksana Grigorieva. He took Slater as a client because he believes he could stretch his 15 minutes of fame to more. Of course, Bragman is so much more than a publicist to Slater: “So I’m doing the media relations and also acting as manager.”

Before he starts pitching books and TV shows, of course, Bragman explains, “Our first job is to handle these very serious criminal charges against Steve and then to get as good a resolution as possible. After the criminal charges are handled, we’re going to evaluate things.”


What’s interesting, of course, is that publicist seems to be about as engaged with reality as client. In regards to the “very serious criminal charges”, Bragman says of Slater, “He’s handling the situation with intelligence and humor and integrity.”

What everyone wants to know, though, is whether the offers are rolling in. Apparently, there’s been a “huge array of things”, says Bragman, who won’t go into specifics. Apparently, being a flight attendant isn’t among them. He’s backing off Slater’s earlier claims that he wanted his old gig back. Dancing around the question about whether Slater wants to come back to the cabin, the famous publicist laments what it’s like to fly today:

Then, of course, there’s the whole airline experience today. Steven said to me, “I used to supply Chateaubriand for people going to Europe on TWA, and now I throw a bag of Cheetos at someone who can’t be bothered to take a shower before they get on an airplane.”

What’s most important to Bragman, though, is that he feels Slater’s fame has legs, though I think he means “with the right representation.” I suspect thinking about his future fees, Bragman says:

I think he’s an interesting character, and I don’t think America knows him. I think they’re going to like this guy. He’s very charming and very intelligent. I think there is real potential in him, but that’s secondary. Our first responsibility is the charges. If I didn’t believe in this guy, I wouldn’t be here.

Steven Slater reality show? JetBlue flight attendant

“He’s certainly a people person: he used to be a flight attendant.” These are the words used to describe the potential of Steven Slater as a reality show star. Obviously, the editor of OK! Magazine doesn’t realize why this clown is in the public eye. TMZ broke the story of Slater’s new job prospect, which would feature disgruntled employees “quit their jobs in extravagant ways.” We know he won’t be on “The Apprentice,” as Donald Trump, eager to ride on anybody’s 15 minutes, has already announced he isn’t interested bringing Slater to his show.

Slater is being helped with the pitch by U.S. reality TV show company Stone and Company Entertainment, which is apparently a big-time firm. So, Slater is seriously trying to move into the post-flight attendant big leagues.

According to TMZ, Slater has received the offer:

But reality TV is a fickle thing … if Slater’s story turns out to be a big hoax — which we’re thinkin’ is the case — the offer could disappear as fast as it came.

There’s one big question behind all this, of course: how reliable will he be? Would even reality TV folks actually hire this nut-job?

Does JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater know himself?

Steven Slater has almost always been the top dog. As Skyliner747, he posted on aviation message board 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 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]

Spirit Airlines uses Steven Slater to sell seats

Irate JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater has gone from controversial hero to marketing tool, thanks to a new campaign from JetBlue competitors Spirit Airlines. Their new promotion advises, “don’t be blue, slide down to low fares with our $35 coupon.”

This isn’t he first time Spirit’s done some cheeky advertising: In 2007 they held a “MILF” sale — claiming the acronym stood for “Many Islands Low Fares.” Sure. And more recently, they attempted to capitalize on the BP oil spill with a campaign encouraging people to “Check out the oil on our beaches.” Blech.

While a $35 coupon isn’t really enough for us to travel on Spirit Airlines, it could spell good things for Steven Slater. After all, we know that Mr. Slater wants his old job back, but perhaps he should give Spirit a ring.

Does the airline industry really consider JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater a hero?

As you know, I’ve been following the story of flight-attendant-turned-runaway Steven Slater closely. What started as the quirky, though dangerous, reaction of a man pushed too far has become a bit more complicated. Slater’s message board activity has shown his likely instability, his own words tell that he’s been planning this for a while and it’s becoming increasingly likely that he lied about being assaulted by a passenger. And, let’s not forget that the man responsible for passenger safety – the only aspect of their job description that flight attendants harp on – actually put people at risk.

So … a hero?

Contributing to the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, flight attendant Sara Keagle, with 18 years in the cabin, asks this very question. Even after acknowledging that “investigators are questioning the account, she explains:

Back to the question: is Steven Slater a hero? Hero may be a strong word. Especially in light of reports that other passengers aboard the flight don’t recall seeing the alleged unruly passenger. But, regardless, Slater’s actions have come to represent an idea. For me and the coworkers I have talked to, the story has become a release. Steven did what we’ll probably never do. But when he jumped, he spoke to us. He said, “It’s not just you. We all feel like jumping sometimes.”

Yes, all flight attendants “feel like jumping sometimes,” I’ll take Keagle’s word for it – but how many do?
Even the notion of admiring Slater disturbs me, because it runs counter to the stated role of the flight attendant on the plane, namely safety, and supporting this guy necessarily results in clear hypocrisy. As the story unfolds, I do wonder if the perception of Slater within the aviation industry will change.