It’s a sight, many travelers don’t see every day – or have ever seen for that matter. Still, recently, a flight attendant launched the inflatable slide used for airplane emergencies, to exit the aircraft, after a seemingly normal landing. It has been reported, that people watching from inside the airport, stood shocked, as the women slid down the slide, and simply walked away from the airplane as if nothing had happened.
The incident occurred at around midday, on Monday June 20th, when a United Airlines plane landed in Houston, at the Bush Intercontinental Airport. The plane finally stopped moving and arrived at the gate, when the door flew open to the plane. The woman proceeded to launch the inflated emergency slide, dropped her bags downward, and then slide down the slide to land. She then walked away from the plane.
Onlookers were reported as stating that the event in itself seemed insane, and wondered why the flight attendant would do such a thing.
Still, this isn’t the first time an incident involving the emergency slide and a flight attendant has occurred. Remember Steven Slater? Way back in 2010, the JetBlue flight attendant left his plane in the very same way; except he grabbed two beers before he slid down to the ground, and freedom. Prior to Slater’s exit, he got on the intercom to state that a traveller had abused him, and that he quit his job. Slater received a tremendous amount of media attention. While some have applauded the move, others have claimed it to be highly unprofessional.
As creative as Slater, and this recent flight attendant’s exit was, accidental slide launches are not so uncommon, and can cost the airline a pretty penny. The International Air Transport Association stated in 2014 that accidental launches of the emergency slide have cost over $20 million dollars (US), to the industry, annually.
The Huffington Post reported that while United Airlines was not able to release the name of the flight attendant, nor any employment history about her due to privacy agreements, they did announce last week that she had been fired from the company. There has been no release around the reason she deployed the slide in the first place, or why she exited the plane at all; but it is clear that it wasn’t done accidentally. One can’t help but speculate the cost that surrounded this flight attendant’s sliding exit.