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October 20, 2011

Steven Slater Sentenced to Probation Over Infamous JetBlue Meltdown

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Former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater was sentenced to one year of probation on Wednesday after completing a year of court-ordered counseling and substance abuse.

Steven Slater jetBlue Flight Attendant

Steven Slater, seen here on an apparently happier day in the friendly skies.

Slater quickly became a folk hero among unhappy workers everywhere following his arrest on August 9, 2010. Allegedly upset about an earlier skirmish with a passenger on a Pittsburgh-New York flight, Slater cursed out the passenger over the PA system, grabbed a beer from the plane’s galley, deployed the escape slide and jumped out of the plane. Slater was arrested at his home near JFK Airport.

JetBlue and the authorities were not amused by the tantrum, which forced the Embraer E190 jet to be taken out of service while its $25,000 slide was replaced. The Queens County District Attorney also cited the fact that the slide going off under such circumstances could have been deadly had someone been standing outside the plane at that moment.

Last year, Slater pleaded guilty to criminal mischief to avoid jail time, pending the completion of psychological and substance abuse treatment and $10,000 in restitution payments to JetBlue. On Wednesday, Slater told the sentencing judge that his behavior the day of the incident was induced by severe stress related to the recent death of his father, the terminal illness of his mother, and his own battle with HIV.

Slater told reporters that he is planning to move to California and write a memoir about his two decades in the airline industry.



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