This week, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became a household name after he used the plane’s PA system to curse out a female passenger who hit him in the head with the overhead compartment door. After finishing his tirade, Slater grabbed a couple of beers from the drink cart, activated the aircraft’s emergency evacuation chute, slid down it and proceeded to walk out of Kennedy Airport. This real-life “take this job and shove it” moment seemed to resonate with a huge audience, partially because so many of us have fantasized about making a grand exit from a not-so-loved job.
While Slater is being called “the toast of the online community” and a “real modern-day folk hero,” this event has put the JetBlue brand into the national media spotlight. Will this be a public relations nightmare for the New York-based company, leaving them to sing the jet way blues, or will this be a case of “there’s no such thing as bad publicity?” JetBlue has been quiet in media stories with one or two “no comments” made on the subject, as well as one “neutral” blog post on the company blog. A little odd for one of the most customer-centric and social media-savvy companies out there.
What do you think? What overall effect will this have on the JetBlue brand?