Alec Baldwin Pins Feud on Post-9/11 Airline Standards

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Alec Baldwin speaks onstage during Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday Gala Benefit for Exploring the Arts at The Metropolitan Opera House on September 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Bennett)
Alec Baldwin. Photo: Jemal Countess/2011 Getty Images

Alec Baldwin may have deactivated his Twitter account in order to “focus on 30 Rock,” but surely Tina Fey will allow him to pen a Huffington Post editorial from time to time? Baldwin took to HuffPo this afternoon to further explain his ejection from an American Airlines flight yesterday for allegedly refusing to turn off Words With Friends and put away his smartphone. “I would like to apologize to the other passengers,” Baldwin wrote. “It was never my intention to inconvenience anyone with my ‘issue’ with a certain flight attendant.”

According to Baldwin, here’s what went down:

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.

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.

Start flying Virgin America, Alec! It’s like walking into a purple-tinted nightclub that someone converted into an adult nursery! (We mean that as a good thing.)

Alec Baldwin Pins Feud on Post-9/11 Airline Standards