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JetBlue's Slater Pleads Guilty, But Is Air Rage His Fault?

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JetBlue flight attendant / cult hero Steven Slater has pleaded guilty to attempted criminal mischief. He will get one year probation and undergo mental counseling. No jail time.

Slater was at the center of what is now officially (by officially, we do mean according to Wikipedia) called the JetBlue Flight Attendant Incident, during which a mad-as-hell-and I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore Slater cursed out passengers before sliding down the plane’s emergency shoot with a beer in hand.

By now, we’re all familiar with the story and have probably made up our minds about if Slater is a hero or not.

But what we’re probably less familiar with is that air rage is a serious condition and, yes, there’s an organization devoted to studying its effects on the flying public.

Andrew R. Thomas, who runs and is Assistant Professor of International Business at the University of Akron and author of the best-selling book Aviation Security Management tells Minyanville that he’s not surprised when he hears stories about flight attendants “losing it.”

Situations like Slater’s is a “reminder of the great stress and responsibility we’ve left on flight attendants in the post 9/11 world,” says Thomas. “Ultimately the airlines need to take the proactive approach and support the flight attendants.”

The primary responsibility of flight attendants is to provide safety, according to Thomas. But now they’re waiters and waitresses, in addition to handling passengers’ baggage. Add that all up and you’ve got a recipe for making, shall we say, dramatic exits from the plane.

Food for thought the next time you fly.
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