On Tuesday, we reported that Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines plane at LAX because, as his rep says, “Alec is so in love with ‘Words with Friends’ that he would risk getting thrown off a flight to play.”
Words With Friends, of course, being the Scrabble-like game for the iPhone.
In the wake of the event, Baldwin abandoned his Twitter account — deleting his tweets, followed users, and changing his name to “Deactivated.” But he wasn’t about to be quiet. Instead of containing his thoughts to 140 characters, Baldwin turned to the Huffington Post to write a rant about the incident and the airline industry in general.
He apologized for delaying fellow passengers in the article, titled “Alec Baldwin: A Farewell to Common Sense, Style, and Service on American Airlines.” He says that he was using his phone while parked at the gate, as the plane was delayed, and that he was singled out by the flight attendant and asked to put his phone away, while other passengers continued to use theirs.
He writes that he then put the phone away, but when the delay continued, he retrieved it and continued to message, as many would in a similar situation.
He refers to the flight attendant as a “1950’s gym teacher on duty” and said that the attendants “who walk the aisles of an airplane with a whistle around their neck and a clipboard in their hands” have turned flying into a Greyhound bus experience.
“Filthy planes, barely edible meals, cuts in jet service to
less-traveled locations,” he writes. “One of the big changes, in my time, is in the
increase of the post-9/11, paramilitary bearing of much of the air
travel business. September 11th was a horrific day in the airline
industry, yet in the wake of that event, I believe carriers and airports
have used that as an excuse to make the air travel experience as
inelegant as possible.”
(It is notable that other passengers were using their phones from the plane — to tweet about Baldwin, actually.)
A statement from American Airlines suggests that things happened a little bit differently.
“Since an extremely vocal customer has publicly identified himself as
being removed from an American Airlines flight on Tuesday, Dec. 6, we
have elected to provide the actual facts of the matter as well as the
FAA regulations which American, and all airlines, must enforce. Cell
phones and electronic devices are allowed to be used while the aircraft
is at the gate and the door is open for boarding. When the door is
closed for departure and the seat belt light is turned on, all cell
phones and electronic devices must be turned off for taxi-out and
take-off. This passenger declined to turn off his cell phone when asked
to do so at the appropriate time. The passenger ultimately stood up
(with the seat belt light still on for departure) and took his phone
into the plane’s lavatory. He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the
cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed, even with the cockpit door
closed and locked. They immediately contacted the cabin crew to check on
the situation. The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling
them inappropriate names and using offensive language. Given the facts
above, the passenger was removed from the flight and denied boarding.”