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JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater was arrested Monday after an in-flight altercation with a passenger. ((Facebook))

A JetBlue flight attendant who got into an altercation with a passenger upon landing and then fled the plane on an emergency chute has been granted bail in New York City.

Steven Slater, 39, was arrested shortly after Monday's incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

He faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

A judge agreed to set him free on bail of $2,500 US during a hearing Tuesday morning. However, some local media were reporting that Slater does not have the money and so will stay in custody.

The flight from Pittsburgh had just landed on Monday when the heated argument took place, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police.

According to the New York Times, one of the 100 or so passengers on board stood up to retrieve baggage from the overhead compartment before the plane had reached a complete stop and did not heed Slater's request to remain seated.

Slater, a career flight attendant, then approached the woman, who continued to pull the baggage from the compartment, striking Slater on the head with it in the process.

When the passenger refused to apologize, the paper reported, Slater unleashed a string of expletives via the public-address system, deployed the inflatable evacuation chute, grabbed a beer from the beverage cart, yelled "It's been great!" and slid down and went to his car.

He was arrested later at his home in Queens, with some reports saying he was smiling as police led him away.

Slater was the subject of at least 10 separate pages on the social networking site Facebook, including ones called "Free Steven Slater" and the "Steven Slater Legal Defence Fund."

In arguing for his client's release without bail on Tuesday, Slater's lawyer said the flight attendant's mother has lung cancer.

With files from The Associated Press