Since I work in customer service, I understand the urge to retaliate, and the feeling that I am just going to lose it.
BUT, I keep coming back to the fact that Mr. Slater's behavior was inexcusable. One version of the incident that I read, another passenger was quoted as saying that they had no idea that there was anything going on, until he heard the profanity laced announcement that Slater made.
About 2 months ago, I had to deal with an extremely difficult customer, for the second time. The first time, he had apologized for his behavior. The second time, he claimed that his military recruiter had told him that we would waive licensing fees for anyone in the military, and when I explained that I can waive late fees only, he became almost impossible. He even went so far as to scream at me, "You want me to go to Iraq and be killed! That would make you happy! Admit it! Admit it!"
As much as I wanted to slap his face, as much as I was tempted to yell back, "Yes! Yes!", I didn't. I told him that his statement was childish, collected his fees, called him back as he started to storm out to remind him that he had demanded a receipt from me, and gave him his receipt.
I'm glad I didn't, because the other customers applauded me, literally cheering and clapping. I was also complimented on my professionalism and maturity. I'm glad I didn't sink to my customer's level, or Mr. Slater's either.