TODAY   |  August 13, 2010

Passengers: Flight attendant is no ‘hero’

Passengers aboard the JetBlue flight where Steven Slater had his infamous meltdown are saying the flight attendant was aggravated well before the alleged carry-on bag incident. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports.

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>>> and now to the latest twist in the jetblue saga and the now famous flight attendant. steven slater 's story is not what it seems. nbc's jeff rossen is here.

>> reporter: good to see you. america loves this guy but now some passengers on that plane say, hang on, before you hold him up as a hero he was the problem. they say he was rude and angry the entire flight. even as passengers hold to his story, steven slater stayed home and stayed humble.

>> thank you all so much. it's been amazing the support and the love and everything that's been given to me by community and friends.

>> reporter: his story hit a chord, mistreated by a rude passenger. he snapped, deploying the plane's emergency chute at the gate. but now some passengers are telling a different story that slater himself was offbeat and angry even before take yoof in pittsburgh.

>> it was obvious that he was disgruntled and that he was taking it out on individuals.

>> reporter: warren was onboard in seat 2-a.

>> his behavior throughout the whole flight was a little bit erratic. he was walking up and down the aisles slamming the overhead bins. he was slamming the refrigerator door and the ice and whatever they have up there. he was slamming that as well.

>> reporter: she says slater was splang about passengers out in the open and refused to help her with a coffee spill.

>> i pointed to him and showed him where the coffee was and he said, not right now, honey.

>> reporter: and there's another problem the investigators say they still can't find anyone to corroborate slater 's story about his confrontation with a rude passenger over that carry-on luggage. even jetblue executives are stumped. in a memo the number two in charge wrote to his employees, it's difficult to know with certainty what really happened. thursday slater 's lawyer defended his client's 20-year record in the air including that final flight.

>> stevens did his job effectively and appropriately.

>> reporter: slater 's boyfriend chimed in, too. do you believe the passengers who say he was rude to them?

>> that's something i have no comment about that. the only thing i'm going to say is steven absolutely adores flying.

>> reporter: an act of defiance that seems more clear has more of a mystery of jetblue 1052 . if convicted slater could face seven years in prison. we should mention he's pled not guilty. by the way, meredith, he says he still wants to be a flight attendant with jetblue . doesn't seem likely though.

>> i don't know about that, jeff. thank you so much.