Personal supply chains, like business ones, can get thrown off by one disruptionBy now, most people have heard about Steven Slater - the JetBlue flight attendant who unleashed a profanity-laced tirade on a rude passenger via the plane's intercom system, then grabbed two beers, deployed the emergency chute and slid to freedom. In fact, Slater has become something of a hero to frustrated blue-collar workers nationwide. And while JetBlue is undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief that Slater's actions are being so positively received in the media, the effects of a "dramatic quit" like Slater's can be enormous for a supply chain.

Much like a business supply chain, a "personal supply chain" requires that a large number of separate components work together to create a desired outcome. For example, in order for a businessman to travel successfully, several things must go right. First, the traveler's car must start in the morning so that he can drive himself to the airport. Once he arrives, he must check his bags at the counter and print his tickets. Then he must wait for the aircraft to arrive, hope that the pilot can deliver him to his destination in a safe and timely manner, and hope that his rental car is ready. If any one of these elements fails to work, his trip will not be successful.

This supply chain is what some believe Steven Slater's rant disrupted.

One flight attendant, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke to Spend Matters' Sheena Moore. While the anonymous attendant didn't take issue with Slater's rant - or even the fact that he took a couple of alcoholic parting gifts with him - she called Slater's decision to deploy the emergency slide "indefensible."

The reason, she said, is because it creates a "domino effect" for other travelers' personal supply chains.

"There are all kinds of dangers associated with launching one of those slides, not the least of which is to the people on the ground. Someone on the ground could have been severely hurt, even killed, if they happened to be under that slide when it deployed," said the attendant.

More irritatingly, however, the deployment of the slide also forced the plane to be taken out of commission for at least a day, possibly longer.

"That plane was supposed to go places, people had tickets and schedules," said the attendant, and the slide's deployment meant that the plane was grounded for hours, even days or weeks.

"At a busy airport like Kennedy, that's a huge issue that creates a domino effect," she added.

The consequences could also be enormous for JetBlue. Unhappy customers may turn elsewhere to keep their personals supply chains from getting muddled, which may result in decreased revenues for the airline. Or, perhaps, the cult-hero status of Slater will encourage more passengers to fly with JetBlue. Only time will tell.
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