Leading article: Down and out

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The Independent Online

Who, at least once, has not wanted to do exactly what Steven Slater has just done – cock a snook at a pesky customer, before making a glorious exit from that particular chapter of your life? The flight attendant for JetBlue deployed the plane's emergency chute, grabbed his hand luggage and two cans of beer, then slid out of his job in style.

While Slater's behaviour might not recommend him as a future employee – working with customers might not be his metier; the words "psychologically flawed" come to mind – he has surely set the standard for spectacular departures. What can possibly come next? The ship's steward who flounces off in a lifeboat (once in harbour)? The train driver who uncouples his engine and speeds out of the station? The bus driver who takes his passengers on a mystery tour of frustration?

There there's the chute. Which airline passenger, on hearing the emergency spiel, has not secretly wanted to abandon their bag, throw off their high heels and helter-skelter to the ground? No more interminable waits for the doors to be opened, no hassle with the steps that haven't arrived, no jostling for space in the aisle, and you have to say this for Slater, he didn't harm anyone. It's a whole lot better than going postal.

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