Customer Service Spin on JetBlue Flight Attendant


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Customer Service comes to the surface of major airline as news headlines focus on JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater. It appears he’d “had enough” with his job and decided to exit in grand style. After an argument with a passenger where curse words were exchanged, he grabbed a couple of beers, announced on the loud speaker system that he’d had it, opened a door and slid down the emergency chute.

Public response to Mr. Slater’s behavior has been interesting. He’s been applauded by some for his actions and has become somewhat of a hero to many who’ve wanted to exit their jobs in similar fashion.

Here’s my take: Shame on Mr. Slater. His behavior was everything but professional. I’m not saying the passenger was right. On the contrary, the passenger was 100% wrong. Still, no excuse for Mr. Slater to have reacted in the unprofessional manner he did. How should someone react in this type of situation? In a way that brings dignity and respect to both him/herself and the company he/she represents.

I preach that the customer is NOT always right. I usually follow up this line with, “So let the customer be wrong with dignity and respect.” However, when the customer is so wrong, the dignity and respect has to come back to the employee and the company.

So decide if the customer is worth keeping. If not, “fire” the customer. I would imagine that if Mr. Slater would have had the belligerent customer taken off the plane by the captain or a gate agent, he might have still received applause – from passengers who were impressed with how he handled the situation. That’s customer service!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. I agree with you, Shep. The customer service trainer in me was all a-gasp. However, what the heck is wrong with our society today that the passenger acted the way she reportedly did and Mr. Slater acted out so unprofessionally. Based on the response to his situation, I think it’s time for us to examine a need for return some civility to our culture.

  2. Yes, sometimes passengers of an airline – and customers of many businesses – become unreasonable, demanding and in some cases disrespectful. I’m okay with demanding. And,we’re all allowed to have bad days, be in bad moods, etc., but that is no excuse to treat someone with disrespect. And when someone does treat us in a way we don’t like, we should be professional. We have to be better than them. Shep Hyken, Author of “The Cult of the Customer.”


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