A rogue JetBlue flight attendant's explanation that an uncooperative passenger caused him to lose his mind and slide down a parked plane's emergency chute may not hold water, the airline says in an internal memo. And even if it's true, a bad day at work is no excuse for Steven Slater's behavior, JetBlue says in the memo the AP obtained today. COO Rob Maruster says in the memo that the airline is still investigating, but that no one has yet corroborated Slater's version of events.
In fact, JetBlue notes, several passengers "have given interviews that tell a different story." "If Mr. Slater's story proves to be accurate, and even if there was a precipitating event that motivated his behavior, that still doesn't excuse his actions," Maruster wrote. The airline said "the most distressing aspect" of news coverage is that the danger of deploying an emergency slide hasn't been taken seriously enough. "Slides deploy extremely quickly, with enough force to kill a person," the letter to employees read. "Slides can be as dangerous as a gun."