Steven Slater is Not a Hero

By | August 11, 2010

Steven Slater has become something of a cult hero in the last twenty four hours. Someone even wrote a song about it. But why? It is normal to have dreams of quitting their job, telling off one’s boss. It is a form of stress relief. The behavior of Mr. Slater is, to quote Henry Harteveldt of Forrester Research, is “an insult to hard-working professional flight attendants on all airline worldwide.”

Flight attendant is not the glamorous job that popular culture once painted it as. Flight attendants have taken pay cuts, are forced to work increasing hours, and benefits have been cut. There are still perks to the job, like any other, but sometimes it can be a challenge to be responsible for all the things a flight attendant must concern themselves with and still handle the service aspect.

Customers are dealing with cuts and frustrations of their own, and many have taken that out on flight attendants. We do not fault Slater for growing frustrated with one’s job. But there are right and wrong ways to do so.

Slater has been defended by Howard Turman, of Legal Aid, who claims Slater followed the correct procedure for deploying the slide. Here, in the complaint against him, he’s been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, and criminal trespass. He has been released on bail.

Everyone wants a little respect and recognition in their job. Everyone gets fed up, even veterans with twenty years of experience. And Slater may have just snapped. But the idea that he’s a hero for acting out is ridiculous, and honoring him for it is equally so.