A rebel flight attendant who told off defiant passengers and grabbed a beer as he made a dramatic escape from a JetBlue aircraft via emergency chute was hit Tuesday with criminal charges.
Steven Slater, 38, soared to instant folk hero status as word of his escapades spread but was brought swiftly back to Earth a day later when he was arraigned on reckless endangerment charges that could bring him seven years in jail if convicted.
Slater appeared before Queens Criminal Court Judge Mary O’Donoghue on charges of first- and second-degree reckless endangerment, second- and fourth-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespass.
He was ordered to be held on 2,500 dollars bail and to return to court on September 7. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Slater was working a Jet Blue flight from Pittsburgh to New York that had just landed when he became entangled in a spat with a passenger.
The steward told passengers to remain seated upon landing. But when a passenger started collecting belongings from the overhead bin, disregarding the instructions, Slater tried to stop the passenger but was hit in the head by the luggage bin and became irate.
Slater asked for an apology, but instead was cursed at by the cranky passenger.
The frustrated steward grabbed the public address system and cursed out all aboard. Then he activated the inflatable evacuation slide, launched himself off the plane, an Embraer 190, ran to the employee parking lot and left the airport in a car he parked there.
The attendant snatched beer from the galley before jumping on the slide.
His silver-screen-worthy escape was fleeting; police arrested Slater shortly after at his home nearby in Queens.
Supporters have been rallying around their angry man on the Facebook social network.
No one was injured in Monday’s incident.