|Steven Slater reportedly cursed out a passenger.|
NEW YORK — A judge granted bail for a flight attendant accused of cursing out a passenger on an airplane public-address system, grabbing some beer from the galley, and exiting on an emergency slide.
Steven Slater wore a slight smile yesterday as he was led into a Queens courtroom to be arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and trespassing. The judge set his bail at $2,500.
Police and prosecutors said the 38-year-old airline industry veteran lost his temper Monday afternoon after a dispute with a passenger, and then fled the parked jet by deploying the emergency chute and walking across the tarmac.
At the arraignment, defense attorney Howard Turman said Slater was under stress because his mother has lung cancer. Afterward, he provided reporters with an account of what happened that differed from the one offered by authorities.
Police had said Slater became angry when a rule-breaking passenger defied requests to stay seated then accidentally hit him in the head with her luggage.
Turman said the dispute had begun earlier, when the flight was waiting to take off from Pittsburgh, when two female passengers got into an argument over space in the overhead bins. That’s when Slater was struck in the head, Turman said.
The dispute flared up again after the plane landed in New York when one of the women, who had been asked to gate-check her bag, was enraged that it wasn’t immediately available.