Déjà Vu? Flight Attendant Deployed Evacuation Slide to Leave Airplane

J ulia Price was fired from her job as a flight attendant for United Airlines when she intentionally opened the door to an airplane — after it landed at approximately noon on Monday, April 4, 2016 and arrived at at Gate C43 at the international airport which serves the greater Houston metropolitan area — and deployed an inflatable emergency evacuation slide to leave the aircraft, which just completed Flight 1246 from Sacramento.

Price then threw her bag to the ground approximately 15 feet below; slid down the evacuation slide once it was inflated in order to depart the aircraft; and then walked away with her bag. What prompted her unusual exit from the aircraft is still undisclosed at this time.

All of the other passengers aboard the airplane deplaned normally and were safe; and the aircraft is now back in service.

“Some passengers on the plane didn’t even realize what happened because their attention was on a medical emergency at the back of the plane”, according to this article by Jace Larson of KPRC-TV Channel 2 News in Houston, which includes a video of the incident as it actually happened with a “not-too-ruffled” Julia Price sliding down the slide. “A man was having trouble breathing and needed to be escorted off the flight in a wheelchair.”

This is an official statement from United Airlines pertaining to this particular incident:

“We hold our employees to the highest standards. This unsafe behavior is unacceptable and does not represent the more than 20,000 flight attendants who ensure the safety of our customers. We are reviewing this matter and the flight attendant is no longer employed by United.”

The incident is currently being investigated by agents of the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States.

Déjà Vu? Flight Attendant Deployed Evacuation Slide to Leave Airplane

This incident is reminiscent to the antics of Steven Slater, who quit his job as a flight attendant in August of 2010, also by deploying an inflatable emergency evacuation slide to leave the aircraft. His flamboyant exit was triggered by an encounter with a reportedly uncooperative passenger, which led to his being hit in the head by a piece of luggage from the overhead compartment, a profanity-laced tirade over the public address system of the aircraft, deployment of the emergency slide, and an exit — allegedly with beer in hand — from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Felony charges have been filed against Mr. Slater after he was arrested at his home not far from the airport — allegedly as he “went nuts with his boyfriend in bed” — and “fans” of his attempted to organize a legal defense fund for him.

Unlike Slater, Price will likely not be charged with a crime.

Summary

Flight attendants get more than an ample opportunity to use an inflatable emergency evacuation slide during their intensive training; so this would not be a satisfying of curiosity or special joyride to Price…

…and if she intended to quit her job similarly to the way Slater did, her method of doing so was unprofessional and irresponsible at the very least. Inflatable emergency evacuation slides are not inexpensive: it can cost an airline more than $25,000.00 to replace one, as they do not just simply get rolled up and stowed for future use once activated and deployed.

The medical emergency which was supposedly occurring aboard the airplane did not warrant use of emergency exits; and Price should have remained aboard the airplane if the emergency was still ongoing.

While two known incidents within six years is not a trend by any means, perhaps the penalty for deploying an inflatable evacuation slide on a commercial airplane — other than during an actual emergency which would require it, such as when a fire is consuming an airplane — should be stricter

Source: KPRC-TV Channel 2 News in Houston.

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