Pilot Goes ‘Nuts,’ Steven Slater, and More JetBlue Fiascos (PHOTOS)

From a rampaging pilot to a flight attendant’s epic meltdown, the wildest moments on JetBlue.

Pilot Goes Berserk

A JetBlue flight was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday after the pilot went ‘nuts’ and was tackled by passengers. From Steven Slater’s epic meltdown to an 11-hour tarmac wait, the airline’s wildest incidents.

It’s not like the pilot was running down the aisles screaming about al Qaeda and terrorism. Oh wait, he was. A JetBlue flight captain went “nuts,” according to a passenger’s tweet, on a Tuesday flight from New York to Las Vegas, screaming exactly what you would not want to hear when flying. The pilot was booted from the cockpit by the copilot for his incoherent blabber (which included references to Iraq and that “we’re all going down”), had a panic attack, and then pounded the door. Luckily, the plane was full of burly passengers on their way to a security conference, and a retired NYPD sergeant and several others tackled and subdued the pilot. The flight made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, and he was taken away on a stretcher in handcuffs.

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Steven Slater Quits Spectacularly

If you’re going to ditch your job, you might as well exit via inflatable slide. In 2010’s hissy fit heard ’round the world, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater cussed out a passenger, said over the PA system that he was “done,” grabbed two beers, and slid down the plane’s emergency slide. Not exactly the best PR for the company. Slater said the “rude” passenger clocked him in the head with a piece of luggage and then gave him attitude—pushing him over the edge. Investigators, however, contended he was drunk and dealing with mental issues. JetBlue is probably just happy he doesn’t work for the airline anymore.

AP Photo

Plane Circles Southern California for Hours

This might be the original JetBlue disaster. Back in 2005, passengers aboard JetBlue flight 292 from Burbank, California, to New York City were given quite a scare when their plane’s landing gear malfunctioned. Shortly after takeoff, the pilots realized the plane’s two front wheels were stuck facing sideways, forcing them to circle Southern California for hours while navigating a safe emergency landing. Television crews caught the plane flying in circles and the passengers were subjected to watching coverage of their own disaster on the plane’s televisions. The drama on screen caused many to panic and try to call or text their loved ones. When the plane finally landed, passengers were instructed to put their heads between their knees—the crash position. They landed safely, however. Though the front wheels went up in flames upon touchdown, no one was hurt.

David Duprey / AP Photo

Starving, Thirsty on the Tarmac

The passengers of JetBlue’s Flight 504 might disagree with the company’s slogan, “You Above All.” In October 2011, a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Newark, N.J., was diverted to a Connecticut airport because of poor visibility. The plane—and its 126 passengers—sat on the runway for seven hours in the snowstorm. JetBlue said the “unusual combination of weather and infrastructure issues” led to the situation. Furious passengers said they were given no food or water while waiting and that the toilets were clogged, making flushing futile. An audio transmission from the pilot makes things worse: “We can’t seem to get any help from our own company,” he says.

JetBlue Loses Race (to Cyclists)

You know things aren’t going great for your airline when you lose a race to a bike. Inspired by JetBlue’s offer of $4 flights between Burbank and Long Beach, Calif., during Los Angeles’s July 2011 traffic apocalypse, known as “Carmageddon,” six cyclists left an intersection at the same time as a blogger and completed their trip shortly before the plane had even taken off. This isn’t, we should note, necessarily a hit against JetBlue, as air travel requires a few hours of security checks. It is, however, unfortunate, as most headlines read “Cyclists Beat JetBlue Flight.”

David Waters / AP Photo

Flight Attendants: ‘Get Out! Get Out!’

In some countries it’s customary to clap when the plane makes a successful landing. It’s safe to say there was no clapping on this flight. In August 2010 a JetBlue Airbus popped four tires and caught fire after touching down hard in Sacramento, Calif. Passengers were shepherded off the plane and onto inflatable slides by attendants yelling, “Get Out! Get Out!” Bad brakes were to blame, and 15 passengers were injured.

Steve Douglas / AP Photo

Flight Disrupted Captain

Emergency workers tend to a JetBlue captain that had a "medical situation" during a Las Vegas–bound flight from JFK International airport, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, in Amarillo, Texas. Passengers said the pilot screamed that Iraq or Afghanistan had planted a bomb on the flight, was locked out of the cockpit, and then tackled and restrained by passengers. The pilot subsequently took command of the aircraft and elected to land in Amarillo at about 10 a.m., JetBlue Airways said in a statement. (AP Photo/Steve Douglas)

Richard Drew / AP Photo

No Trip to Aruba Is Worth This

And you thought waiting on a tarmac for seven hours was bad. Four years before, in 2007, another snowstorm that hit the Northeast delayed several of JetBlue planes at JFK Airport—the worst of which was a flight to Aruba that sat on the runway for a staggering 11 hours. The airline said congestion and frozen technology were to blame for the delays. And, as in the 2011 incident, the bathrooms were quite unpleasant by the end of the ordeal.

Michael Hitoshi / Getty Images

Rules Were Not Made to Be Broken

Protecting your right to a peaceful flight or ruining travel for families? In February a Rhode Island family was kicked off a flight in the Turks and Caicos Islands after their toddler had a tantrum. The unruly 2-year-old would not sit down and put her seat belt on, forcing the plane’s crew to take action—an action that required the family to change their plan and spend an extra $2,000. And in July 2010 JetBlue faced legal action after a woman was asked to verify whether she had shorts on under a baggy T-shirt. The jury’s still out on these cases.