Economy

Like Steven Slater, many air passengers have had it, too

Frank Granati is fed up with air travel: the sometimes baffling security rules, the lack of amenities on board, the rude fellow passengers.

Granati, who stopped over at Miami International Airport on his way home to Long Island from Grenada Wednesday, isn't alone.

Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who quit his job with a public speech, then grabbed a beer before he slid down the emergency chute, has emerged as a folk hero since Monday's dramatic exit at a New York airport. More than 143,000 people have become fans of a Facebook page dedicated to him.

"He was pushed to the edge,'' said Grenati, adding that he does not condone Slater breaking any Federal Aviation Administration rules. "There are a lot of obnoxious people, people who don't follow instructions, don't turn off their phones.''

Airline watchers say the skies have become far less friendly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks as intrusive security checks have become the norm and airlines have added fees, cut flights and reduced services.

"All of this leads to a little bit of resentment,'' said Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor of Lonely Planet.

"People are saying, 'Wait a minute, we used to get this and we don't now.' I think the tension has been building.''

A report from the Department of Transportation underscores the dissatisfaction: Between January and June, the department registered 5,757 complaints from consumers. That's up from 4,355 complaints filed during the same period in 2009 — a 32 percent increase, though traffic increased less than 1 percent during that time.

Read more of this story at MiamiHerald.com

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