A flight attendant onboard this morning’s United flight 1246, a Boeing 737 from Sacramento to Houston, deployed the plane’s emergency slide on arrival, slid down, and walked off.
The aircraft had arrived at gate C43 and there was a medical emergency in the back of the aircraft distracting the attention of several passengers while this happened.
A man was having trouble breathing and needed to be escorted off the flight in a wheelchair.
“When we landed we were notified to, we were told to stay in our seats as de-planing would take a bit longer,” said passenger Jonah Vella.
The flight attendant who exited the aircraft via slide has been removed from duty, though I think the United crewmember was the horse and United needs to be introduced to the barn door. Popping the slide would seem to be the crewmember’s declaration that they’re no longer working flights.
United Airlines issued the following statement: “We hold all of our employees to the highest standard. The unsafe behavior is unacceptable and does not represent the more than 20,000 flight attendants who ensure the safety of our customers. United is reviewing the matter and they have removed the employee from her flying duties.”
When a passenger pops the slide looking for the lavatory you can chalk that up as a mistake. And indeed slides appear to deploy by mistake frequently with United. But flight attendants usually don’t slide down them, exiting the aircraft.
But when a flight attendant pops the slide and leaves, that has a very specific meaning, drawing on Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who cursed a passenger, grabbed a beer from the galley, and deployed the emergency slide as his most dramatic exit from an aviation job in 2010.
This United flight attendant’s only mistake in making her dramatic exit is her failure to grab a beer from the galley on the way out.