US STEWARD’s EMERGENCY EXIT

August 13th, 2010 by Ravi Matah | Posted in Life, News   No Comments »
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 Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job via emergency slide at Kennedy Airport, has given a brute, but essential message to the world that the flight attendants are also human and deserve their ‘due’ place in the Society.

Stevan Slater, the flight attendant who has become media sensation, was released on $2,500 bail on Monday night. He told reporters he was surprised by all the attention his story had generated.

Steven Slater

Steven Slater

Agreed, after take-off, your first requirement is to get a drink and nibble. It’s the duty of the steward or the stewardess to serve you because you have paid for it in the ticket, but you have no right whatsoever, to be rude to them.

There he comes, pulling the trolley, with bottles, snacks, disposable glasses and paper napkins, smiling and asking every passenger ‘what would you like to drink Sir/Madam’? He puts a napkin on the make-shift dining table and then puts the disposable glasses and plastic cutlery on it along with the drink of your choice.

After about 20 minutes the trolley is pulled in again,  bringing dinner for you. Half and hour later they come to pick up the ‘crockery’ and the left-overs.

Anytime you press the bell, the light goes ‘on’ above your seat, and pronto, the attendant is there with his/her smile. Every time they have to walk the aisle from the kitchen to the passenger and God knows how many aisle-miles they have to walk during the time of their total service. And still they offer service with a smile.

I remember, on a KLM Dutch airline flight from Delhi-Frankfurt, I wanted another ‘phial’ of red wine, and could not get it even asking the stewardess twice for it.

Not that I crave for red wine, but on that day I liked to have another one, so what do I do, shout for it, create a racket or break an egg on her head? No, they are also humans.

Don’t they get tired or frustrated? Do spare a thought for the thousands who are serving people with a smile?  From the outside their job looks glamorous, high-heeled, perfumed and mascara et el, but from within it is anything but rosy.

Throughout their life, they stay away from their families, away from their loved ones, and serve absolute strangers everyday. Most of the time they are on long-haul flights of 14 to 15 hours duration and they are able to meet their kith and kins once a fortnight.

They leave important work behind, like nursing their ailing parents, and serve strangers.  Hundreds of times it has been reported that brutes have misbehaved with the air-hostesses. The Airlines should also address the problems faced by the attendants in dealing with some of the passengers, rather than shoving their grievances under the carpet.

On Jet Blue Flight 1052  from Pittsburgh to New York, Slater had asked a passenger to sit after she got up to retrieve her luggage and she defied him. When he asked again, he was hit by her with the piece of luggage she held in her hand. Slater demanded an apology, which was not forthcoming, and after addressing the passenger on the public address system, he glided down, with two beers in his hand and went home.

For how long can they stand this torture? There is always a breaking point, and when it came, Slater took the gliding path down to the tarmac. And allow me to add that world-wide the low cost airlines pay very less, which also adds to the frustration.

“It’s been very, very appreciated,” Slater told ABC News station WABC-TV. “It seems like something here has resonated with a few people.”

“Every flight attendant has had this frustration and has had the desire to do something like that that you would lose your job,” he told ABC News. “I think everyone has fantasized about that. The public can be challenging.”

Slater told reporters he is looking forward to “a little beach time, enjoying the rest of the summer.

Your comments on this issue are welcome.

Ravi Matah.

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