New Video: Delta Passenger Pops Emergency Slide, Runs Onto Tarmac At LAX

A passenger on board Delta Air Lines flight 1714 from Los Angeles to Seattle popped the emergency exit slide and headed down onto the tarmac on Saturday morning, Steven Slater-style. The man was detained by airline staff, and then arrested when law enforcement arrived.

The passenger had been seated at the back of the aircraft. He ran forward, evaded flight attendants, and opened the door and then “deployed the slide and jumped out” according to another passenger on board. The aircraft was holding prior to taxiing for takeoff

That much has been well-covered and seems almost de rigueur for 2022, so I didn’t write about it over the weekend. However a Delta source shared video of the passenger actually popping the slide and running, and I haven’t seen this anywhere else.

This has happened before. It’s even happened on Delta before. But it’s never a good idea.

Replacing a slide that’s been deployed is costly. Delaying a flight is costly. Yet the people who do it never seem to bear the consequences. That’s probably because the very act of doing it seems like prima facie evidence of not bearing responsibility for one’s actions. Except when you’re grabbing a beer on the way out and peacing out your airline employer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Panic attack? A quick check showed the costs of repacking and testing a slide upwards of $20,000 plus, in addition to the time the plane is out of service. Apparently accidental deployements are relatively common in the industry, but this fellow will foot the bill. Sad.

  2. Kelsey at 74 Gear, a 747 first officer reported this week that he was on the upper deck, and a slide was deployed. He was very tempted to jump down, but resisted, mistake because he would need to climb up to the upper deck to get his luggage. A maintenance person told him that he saved $50,000 by not jumping, as a used slide has to be inspected for damage, and that costs $75,000, while just repacking a deployed slide is “only” $25,000

  3. OK- backstory- I am a PA accredited baseball umpire and have ‘seen it all’. Why does this matter? Because like situations on a plane, you never know what you are going to see during a heated baseball game with fanatical parents and immature players (though usually they are fine)
    I’m Exec Platinum+ on AA. Or whatever they call it these days. I am *only* 20k from a million miler.. I.E., way less than most readers, way more than the average person.

    However, there was two times when I strongly felt we were illegally detained and stuck. Both on diverted flights because of a medical emergency. The worst was on a ERJ-145.

    You know, the 1-2 configuration with no 1st class. Flies on AA between Montreal and Philly.

    Flight left Montreal on time. We had to divert to Albany, NY because of a medical emergency- an older passenger passed out and we had to land. However-we were stuck on the tarmac for HOURS (this is 2019). Knowing I could easily rent a car, and just drive home to Philly, and WORST, not knowing how long we would be stuck, I was this close to just accepting the fate of an arrest in unusual circumstances.

    I mean, what was the worst that was going to happen?

    Back to the baseball reference… As a baseball player, coach (16+ years), and umpire (8+ years), I have witnessed ‘normal’ people doing weird things- but when you look at it, I would hope that a normal person could understand that it was reasonable how it happened.

    Hope this makes sense.



  4. Steven Slater…I’ve been wondering why that Chris Carley guy on “Renes Points” looks kind of familiar. Kind of a doppelganger.

  5. Seriously time for an industry wide permanent no-fly list following an administrative hearing.

    Too many crazy people out there.

  6. Does the industry/FAA study such incidents? What causes such behavior? Do people get panic attacks? See a chance for their 15 minutes of fame? Or simply ‘act crazy’? Am very curious about this.

  7. Instead of sending my complaints to the most welcoming Delta Customer Care P.O. Box in Atlanta, I’ll try expressing my regrets about having flown Delta, last week, and explain within the context of this news story so that perhaps someone else might identify or commiserate, at least.

    Airline customer care has hit an all-time low – sorry to break that news.

    But, with my recent expensive and regretful round-trip between LAX and PDX, I now personally see air travel as something to be avoided like a trip to the ER Room.

    A week has passed, and I am still so disgusted with Delta’s front counter staff (PDX and LAX), that reading here about yet another passenger going berserk when flying out of LAX actually seems to me like a more affective way of petitioning, expressing, or returning the disrespect and contempt I encountered after spending $760.

    Currently, as readership probably knows, Delta is operating BOTH international and domestic out of Terminal 3 at LAX.

    When I flew home, last week, after arriving at Terminal 3 an hour-and-half before boarding, I waited in AN HOUR LONG customer service line and then was told I was responsible for missing my flight by the unfriendly counter agent who then told me she was doing me a favor by rebooking me.

    My companion who had traveled to the airport with me managed to get checked-in and depart on an AA flight that left 30 minutes before my own. I told the rude counter agent this and she still insisted that I was to blame.

    I was flying with a pet and had to get home as soon as possible. So, I had no choice but to hold my tongue and agree to wait ANOTHER FIVE HOURS at the airport before I could depart.

    And of course, even when spending that much money, at the gate, I was still one of the very last people to board the plane that I waited 5 hours for – that is AFTER EVERY OTHER SPECIAL STATUS DELTA passenger got to board ahead of me and take up all the over-head storage space. (This, of course, doesn’t only apply to Delta).

    The TSA lines in both airports are also perilous. With TSA Precheck, I observed both ways (and on other airlines, previous) A-holes suddenly waltzing around the lines and cutting right up to the conveyor belts. Other ‘special status passengers’ are even escorted around the lines by other Delta Airlines management. People waiting patiently in line around are always understandably shocked and upset with this thuggery, but also helpless and without recourse in the already tense situation. Finally on one leg of my flight, a TSA agent managed to stick up for those of us waiting. But, (bless her) she still had to argue with those line-cutter scumbags and didn’t have any other agents to back her up.

    So, for all those bemoaning 75,000. spent on repacking the emergency slide, or suggesting another no-fly list to demonize more passengers, let me ask you – how could airline management (not only Delta) empathize with their paying customers and accept even SOME responsibility for driving passengers to attack each other and flight crew, especially when in the throes of already very tense and unpleasant air travel? Can anyone here consider (especially airline management) that maybe spending 75,000 on extra (respectful) staff might prevent this sort of thing from happening as often, in the future?

  8. @J.F.: Why were you waiting in a customer service queue in the first place?

    I don’t care how awful airlines are, that doesn’t justify what this idiot did.

  9. So, 1KBrad – blaming me for waiting in the hour-long customer service line is your best consideration for my unfortunate travel experience after reading what I took the time to write?

    Round-and-around – and 700. dollars (personal expense), later.

    And, I take it as long as you (clearly a privileged 1K traveler) still have the right to cut around me in line, then I’m still the one to blame? You’re just fine with Delta maintaining regime-caste-style customer service, as long as you don’t miss your flight, or have to wait in line behind me – right?

    In lieu of your very generous consideration, I’ll add another quip to this already very unfortunate customer experience.

    After the-leverage maintaining counter agent (‘Gupta’, I think that was her name) told me that I should have been at the airport more than two hours prior to departure, “especially during Spring Break!” – her next-door customer service agent walked away to go on break and said right in front of me as he raised up his Hydro-flask, “I knew it was going to be this way. That’s why I brought this” (referring to the Hydro-flask). And I could smell the vodka on his breath from across the counter.

    “Wow”, I thought. “Just like that movie, ‘Flight'”. Art imitating life? Or just red flags, everywhere?

    Do I blame him? Not necessarily. I’d probably have to do the same if confronted with a 100+ irritated customers waiting in an hour-long line. (He was one of only 2 agents processing passengers where I was).

    And yet, you still can’t give me even a shred of that same empathy that I just managed when reading my account, can you? How would you feel, 1KBrad, if you had waited in a captive, hour-long customer service line only to be told that you were the one to blame for waiting in line to begin with? Something smells fishy there, doesn’t it?

    Here’s another way of looking at it – I’m in my 50’s and I, very fortunately, have NO criminal record. And I intend to keep it that way. A wise man once told me that staying out of trouble oftentimes means staying away from those who disrespect. Not an easy thing to do, anymore. But if it means that I at least stay away from Delta Airlines, then so be it.

  10. @ J.F.: Since you conveniently haven’t disclosed why it was necessary for you to wait in a customer service queue for an hour, yes, that is the best consideration you will receive from me.

    You obviously are concealing something and instead are spending time ranting instead of accepting that you apparently had special needs and didn’t arrive at the airport early enough to deal with them.

    There would be no reason for me to cut in front of you. Airlines have separate queues for their frequent travelers. Delta is not alone on that.

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