Sources say the incident is "a private family matter."
Passengers were stunned on Monday when a United Airlines flight attendant deployed the emergency evacuation slide to exit the plane after it arrived at the gate at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. While the reasoning has yet to be determined, airline officials have been speaking with the stewardess.
"It is our understanding that she deployed it intentionally," said United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart in a statement.
Footage from Houston TV station KPRC 2 shows the incident in its entirety. While the plane is stopped, the emergency door behind the cockpit opens, the slide is deployed, the woman throws her bag down the slide, then slides down herself—seemingly following proper emergency exit protocol. After, she grabs her bag and calmly walks away.
It happened so quickly that some passengers weren’t even aware of the incident. "When we landed we were told to stay in our seats, as deplaning would take a bit longer,” passenger Jonah Vella told the station. "Everything seemed to be pretty standard."
The flight attendant has not been identified by the airline, but KPRC 2 spoke with a family member Tuesday who told them the woman is doing well and that it is a private family matter. The airline did confirm the flight attendant has been removed from her duties.
This incident comes nearly six years after JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater announced over the plane's public address system that he had been abused by a passenger and that he quit his job. He grabbed two beers before exiting the plane by deploying the evacuation slide. He avoided jail time by pleading guilty to attempted criminal mischief and was ordered to complete a treatment program, along with a one-year probation.