NEW YORK (
flight attendant Steven Slater slid down the emergency exit chute into the spotlight -- and federal court -- after he lost his temper in an argument with an uncooperative passenger.
Since his dramatic exit from the aircraft, Slater has been hailed as a working-class hero and gained the admiration of his fellow frustrated service industry brethren.
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Slater was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. He posted the $2,500 bail set by a judge at his arraignment on Tuesday morning, but now faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted.
On Wednesday, in light of all this, we asked readers of
what they thought about Mr. Slater's reaction and the felony charges he now faces.
Just slightly under 50% of the those who responded to our poll believe that Slater should not have to face felony charges. Respondents falling into this camp might be interested in joining the
, set up by his close friend Gary Baumgardner.
"Steven Slater did what most airline crew members feel like doing on a daily basis," reads the page. "If you are a crew member or even a frequent flyer you know the kind of absurd treatment we can get from passengers. So make things simple: We are not condoning what Steven did. However one can understand why he did what he did."
More than 35% of voters think that Slater should be charged for his overreaction, but that perhaps felony charges are a bit extreme. After all, Slater's lawyer Howard Turman argued that he did follow the proper safety procedures for activating the emergency exit slide. He said his actions were not reckless, but justified by the behavior of the passengers on the flight, who he said had been verbally and physically abusive towards Mr. Slater.
The minority or those surveyed, at 15%, believe Slater put people in danger, and he should face the full repercussion of felony charges.
and while Slater has brought attention to the airline, many question if it's the type of attention it wants.
JetBlue shared only a brief statement on the matter on its BlueTales blog. It stated "Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can't discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation...."
-- Reported by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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