That's him on the right. Not the left...
A very angry Alec Baldwin causes delay of take-off of an American Airlines flight because he refused to turn off his cellphone, as per the instructions you hear every freaking time you fly, even if you only pay half attention. Shock of shocks, attendant responded, Baldwin reacts like a petulant spoiled brat. Passengers upset, hit the tweets. Complain about Baldwin's being a tool. Baldwin rationalizes, and insults the flight attendants on his tweet page. Baldwin eventually apologizes, but only to the passengers, via his good friends at the H.R. Puffinstuffington Post. Here are the two versions of events
“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.”
The rationalizing and ad hominem laced apology/account of events, from Baldwin:
First off, I would like to apologize to the other passengers onboard the American Airlines flight that I was thrown off of yesterday. It was never my intention to inconvenience anyone with my "issue" with a certain flight attendant.
I suppose a part of my frustration lay with the fact that I had flown American for over 20 years and was brand loyal, in the extreme. The ticketing agents and Admiral's Club staff have always been nothing but abundantly helpful to me, as I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles with the one carrier.
My confusion began when the flight, already a half hour behind schedule, boarded, the door closed, and we proceeded to sit at the gate for another fifteen minutes. I then did what I have nearly always done and that was to pull out my phone to complete any other messaging I had to do before take off. In nearly all other instances, the flight attendants seemed to be unbothered by and said nothing about such activity, by me or anyone else, until we actually were pulling away from the gate.
In this case, while other people were still manipulating their own phones, this one employee singled me out to put my phone away. Afterward, we still sat at the gate. I pulled out my phone again, while others did the same. Again, I was singled out by this woman in the most unpleasant of tones. I guess the fact that this woman, who had decided to make some example of me, while everyone else was left undisturbed, did get the better of me.
However, I have learned a valuable lesson. Airlines in the US are struggling with fuel costs, labor costs, bankruptcies, you name it. It's no secret that the level of service on US carriers has deteriorated to a point that would make Howard Hughes red-faced. Filthy planes, barely edible meals, cuts in jet service to less-traveled locations. 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.
Most of the flight attendants I have ever encountered still have some remnant of the old idea of service. Add to that the notion that in this day and age, many people have a lot of important work to do, by phone, and would like to do so till the last possible minute. But there are many now who walk the aisles of an airplane with a whistle around their neck and a clipboard in their hands and they have made flying a Greyhound bus experience.
The lesson I've learned is to keep my phone off when the 1950's gym teacher is on duty. That was my fault there, even though this trip was quite a bit different from so many others. But it is sad, I think, that you've got to fly overseas today in order to bring back what has been thrown overboard by US carriers in terms of common sense, style, and service.
Again, my apology to my fellow travelers.
So, let me get this straight. Airline folks were looking for excuses to make air travel 'as inelegant as possible', and the 9/11 attacks served as the perfect pretext? MMMMOK. "Paramilitary" MMMOK. Clueless.
And what does Baldwin have against Catholic School gym teachers anyway, that he would toss that in as a jab? I'm not even sure how that is supposed to function as an insult. Can anyone enlighten me on that one?
Makes you think Lil' Kim was the flight attendant. No wonder he took it so hard.