New York|15 Minutes of Fame

Jet Blue Flight Attendant Guy: The New Sully Or Anti-Sully?

Tantrum on the Tarmac doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Miracle on the Hudson. But 19 months after he saved 155 lives aboard US Airways Flight 1549, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger has some competition for the title of aviation hero: Jet Blue Flight Attendant Steven Slater. -

Sully and Slater. Both stars of improbable developments in the history of New York City air travel. And both were immediately hailed as heroes, though one's claim to that title is just a wee bit less questionable than the other's. Whose, do you ask?

Consider the coincidences (and divergences) in their stories and decide for yourself:

  • Sully's plane had just flown out of LaGuardia. Slater's plane had just landed at JFK.
  • Sully and his passengers were rescued from a body of water (the Hudson). Slater sought refuge near a body of water (his Belle Harbor home, near the Atlantic).
  • Sully's troubles were caused by an overhead menace (geese). Slater's troubles were caused by overhead menaces (carry-on luggage, entitled fliers).
  • Sully had worked for US Airways for 28 years at the time of his crash. Slater claimed to have worked in aviation for 28 years at the time of his meltdown.
  • Sully kept his wits about him in the face of a fatal crash landing. Slater grabbed a couple of brewskis in anticipation of a fun slide down an inflatable exit chute.

Sully's Recollection of the Event, as told to Katie Couric: "One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience: education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal."

Slater's Recollection of the Event, as told to the cops arresting him: "Oh, yes, I did! I threw [my carry-on items] down first and I went down after."

Sully's Last Words to Passengers: "Brace for impact."

Slater's Last Words to Passengers*: "To the fucking asshole who told me to fuck off, it's been a good 28 years. I've had it. That's it."

*In dispute!