Monday, August 09, 2010

Just a little excitement on my flight today

I was in Pittsburgh this weekend for Walkoff Walk's annual HEIST meetup -- more on that later -- and I flew back this morning.  JetBlue flight 1052 was really uneventful, barely more than an hour.  I'm glad I had time to watch all of "The Price is Right" before we landed.  I was afraid I'd miss the end of the Showcase Showdown.

As we were taxiing to the gate, we stopped and several passengers got up to get their bags.  One of the flight attendants announced that we were not quite at the gate yet and asked everyone to sit down.  I hadn't moved since I was in row 15.  We pulled up to the gate and people started to get off the plane.  As I got up to get my bags, the flight attendant made this announcement:

"To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker: fuck you.  I've been in this business 28 years and I've had it."

I looked at everyone around me, all of us surprised to have just heard that over an airplane intercom.  As I got off the plane, I noticed that it looked like the door opposite the one with the jetway was open.  I didn't look, but there was light coming in where normally there's no light.  The other flight attendants were talking about someone who was having a really bad day.

I got to the AirTrain terminal and the JetBlue flight attendant who'd made the announcement was there.  I recognized him from the flight; it looked like he had a cut on his forehead.  I recognized his voice when he started talking to another passenger from our flight about how he'd just had enough and quit his job.  Then he said something about someone using the emergency slide to get off the plane.  I still wasn't sure what had happened.  I thought a passenger had taken the fun way out.

As we rode the AirTrain to Jamaica Station, he talked about how he'd been a flight attendant for 28 years and he was fed up with this passenger who had a bag problem.  He said something like "your bag's right here!" and mimed pulling the emergency slide.  He also said that the plane would be out of service the rest of the day to have its emergency slide replaced.  I didn't talk to him myself.  I stood there listening to his conversation with the other guy, phone in hand, ready to tweet.  When we got off at Jamaica, the flight attendant went one way (to the parking lot) and the other passenger walked with me toward the Long Island Rail Road.  I asked him if I'd heard correctly that this flight attendant had used the emergency slide to get off the plane, and he confirmed it.  That's when I put this on Twitter:

JetBlue story: pissed-off lady demanded her bag, swore at FA. The FA swore back on intercom, quit job, left plane via emergency slide.

And now the story is all over the news.

To be clear about a few things:

The flight was never in danger.  We were on the ground, at the gate.  None of the passengers on my flight were delayed or detained as far as I know.

The attendant didn't drive away from the tarmac.  Somehow he got back into the terminal and got to the AirTrain.  He had his bags with him too, so I wonder if he took those down the slide with him.

I feel bad for everyone waiting for the next flight to Pittsburgh.  I assume JetBlue turns the same plane around for JFK-PIT, so those people had to wait while JetBlue found another plane for the afternoon flights.

I'm mostly concerned that a flight attendant would lose their cool that way over a bag in the overhead.  But I'm sure he's served his last bag of in-flight cookies.

34 comments:

Adam said...

Phil, my name is Adam Stephan, I'm an assignment editor with WABC. We would love to interview you TONIGHT for our 11pm story on the JetBlue flight. Could you please call or email me as soon as possible? It's 212-456-3173 or adam.a.stephan@abc.com. Thanks!

Eric (Extra P.) said...

You clearly shouldn't have called him a motherfucker, Phil.

Margaret said...

Just think, my only excitement is having a gun store called "Cheaper Than Dirt Guns" across from my bank....maybe it's good that there wasn't one near the FA? LOL

Megan said...

Hey Phil, I'm another producer trolling for guests -- I'm with WABC Radio. This is how we do it these days! Email me - meg dot robertson at gmail dot com. I have a show from 10AM to 12N and we'd love to have you on.

Thanks!
Meg

Sean said...

Phil - My name is Sean, and I write a blog called Sean's Ramblings and have known you since high school. I am not writing to ask you for an interview request, but thought I would point this out before providing a comment. :)

Wow, that's quite an eventful flight! Please add the TV and radio news coverage here!

floridagirlindc said...

Thx for blogging it! I heard it on the news and this added some new backstory. That's one dramatic way to take a job and shove it.

Alexa said...

Phil call me it's alexa with ABC 212.456.0600

arthur said...

Phil,

I think you should contact Jet Blue and secure approval to slide down the emergency slide, this way you can provide comments about the FA like "quittting my job in a rage was nothing, I soiled my pants going down the slide".

PeteJayhawk said...

Damn it, Phil, I miss all the cool stuff. Including the entire weekend. Sigh.

Brandi said...

Hi Phil! This is Brandi with 103.7 Lite Fm in Dallas. We would love to interview you, would you be available before 930a central time?

Hepner said...

Hi Phil,

This is Kelly for WGN Radio Chicago, we were looking to speak
with you about the JetBlue flight. We would like to put you live on the air with Greg
Jarrett.

The show is 5:00 AM to 8:30 AM CT. All we need is the best number to reach you at, it will be a live phone-in interview and shouldn't take any more than 10 to 15 minutes of your time. You can e-mail me at KellyHep@gmail.com if you are interested.

Thanks!

Hepner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Denney-Sandefer said...

Phil,
Thank You for posting this. After hearing the news via the news stations, I had the impression that the Flight Attendant cursed out all the passengers. He obviously directed it to the passenger that cursed him and hit him in the head, and cut his head. with his luggage.
I felt the flight Attendant should have taken his luggage and given it back to him...
Have you heard about the toxic chemicals that pass through the cabin of most airplanes? I am I retired International Flight Attendant, of 29 years. If you google toxic cabin air, or aero toxic, you will have more info than you need to understand what crew and passengers are subject to today, without knowing it.

Thank You Again!
Retired Flight Attendant of 29 years

ricardo said...

Pardon me for an unrelated question, but are you related, possibly descended from the celebrated tuba player Philip Catelinet?

Richard - NYC

Jeremy said...

Great interview Phil. You looked awesome on TV.

N@ Lauzon said...

Steven Slater is my hero.

Somedays, we all wish we had an emergency chute.

Thanks for the read, Phil! :)

Robert Greenfield said...

Hi Phil,

No, I don't want to interview you. Just wondering if you gave your Vienna schnitzel a name yet. If not, I would like to suggest Bulaga. Love the blog!

Phil said...

Richard - NYC: Yes, Philip Catelinet (the tubist) was my grandfather. I've set up a website about him at http://www.philipcatelinet.com

HeyJoe said...

Hi Phil,

Bet you never expected to be appearing on the Today Show when you boarded that flight. Ha! Andy Warhol was right!

Later

Gary said...

To be fair to the FA, it seems like he got upset over more than just a misplaced bag. If I had a gash on my forehead due to some thoughtless passenger, I'd be very angry.

Rick said...

Good for you Phil, the women got what she had comming. You don't work for the Airlines or anyone else to be treated like that.Some people think your nothing but servants. Sometimes its the straw that breaks the camels back, guess you had enough. I'm glad you gave it back at her, and quit. I would have liked to kick her in the arse too, but I guess you can't go that far. And your exit was awesome.

Bird said...

Phil, can you call me? 81-90-222-2222. My name is Bird, and I'm in Tokyo. I'd like you to tell me personally about this incident. I'm not a reporter, I just thought since you're calling everyone, you could call me too. If you could speak Japanese, it would be better.

mrscherry2000 said...

I saw your quote in a news article I was reading about the incident and I thought, hey I used to work with that guy! Greetings from the "Council"!

Minor Leaguer said...

Phil -- I, too, was reading an article about this incident (in the on-line Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), and thought to myself "Wow, Matthew (my son) went to school with a Phil Cateilinet...could it be him?"

I sent the article to Matthew, and in just a few minutes he sent me a link to your blog.

I've watched the TV clips. You did a fine job on all!

Harry Hunt
Johnstown

Patrickaroo said...

LOL... you rock, Phil!!

After years in the restaurant industry I had the fantasy of grabbing the steak off a whiny patron's plate in one hand, their champagne bottle in another, climbing on their table, doing a jig, having a bite and a swig. That's how I dreamed of quitting.

I never did it.

You are my hero.

Tina Haapala said...

Phil--well, this is one way to drive traffic to your blog! LOL. Love your vacation pics--beautiful.

christopher said...

Which makes us wonder- what set Steven Slater off? Really Steven, what pissed you off that much? Did them wenches not make enough eye contact with you, was it a bumpy flight, that some idiot refused to say sorry to you thus shocking your moral superiority, was it that time of month or was it simply something you’ve been waiting to do all these years…?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/08/why-did-jet-blues-steven-slater-flip-out/

Nivee said...

you are getting so many people to ask you if you can have an interview with them :)

Enjoy the next few moments :D

Ross said...

Just a fact check -

The flight attendant is 38. You quote him saying he had been in the business 28 years - meaning he started when he was 10.

Did he misspeak, or did you?

Minor Leaguer said...

@Ross -- I've heard that "28 years" comment quoted in various news sources, so I don't doubt that's what Phil heard. It may have been that the FA was just so out-of-sorts at the time that he mis-spoke. I also had been wondering about that when I heard the other news reports on this incident.

Matt said...

Phil....Call Matt KUBL 93.3 Here in Salt Lake City, Utah... We want to get you on for a quick 2 minute interview....801-891-2600

Martin said...

Interesting article, makes one think about present work conditions, and tolerance in society. Behaviour normals continue to change from year-to-year. What was previously consider taboo, becomes exceptable. The bottom line of producing massive profits for stock holders forces employees to zip their lip when it comes to speaking your mind, or venting frustrations. The consumer seems to "Always be Right" even when they are rude, disrepectful assholes, bent at provoking a reaction... in this sue happy world of ours. Sometimes it's just sweeter to take the road not so politically correct. On the other hand, just think, had this incident not occurred on an airline, Mr slater could just as easily gone postal, leaving a large death toll in his wake. So has anyone made a wager on how long it takes this bitch who bore the brunt of Mr Slaters verbal rath to slap a lawsuit against JetBlue.

minivan gal said...

Phil,

I'm not a producer, but I AM a blogger....I wrote a blog post earlier today about the pending fame coming to Steven Slater called "The Steve Slater Effect". Since you were on the flight, I thought you might like to check it out! BTW -- loved the pics from Vienna.

http://minivanmonologues.blogspot.com/2010/08/steven-slater-effect.html

Noise Damaged said...
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