Alec Baldwin was removed from an American Airlines flight on Dec. 6 in LAX for playing the game Words With Friends. Baldwin and American Airlines released conflicting versions of what happened during the incident. American Airlines posted a statement to Facebook, while Baldwin (who previously attacked the behavior of the airline on Twitter) posted his version of the story via a blog on the Huffington Post.
Celebritology breaks down Baldwin’s post:
But the actor’s note is really a lament on what he describes as modern air travel’s lack of “common sense, style, and service.”
Baldwin believes he was singled out for using his phone at the gate, he writes. The actor admits the female flight attendant, who he said used “the most unpleasant of tones,” “did get the better of me.”
He also blames the decrease in service on flight attendants “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.”
American Airlines originally declined to discuss the matter, citing passenger privacy, reports the Associated Press:
The airline, which earlier cited passenger privacy in declining to discuss the matter, said on Facebook Wednesday that Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that cellphones and other electronic devices be turned off as soon as the airliner’s door has been closed. The company said Baldwin refused to comply.
“The passenger ultimately stood up (with the seat belt light still on for departure) and took his phone into the plane’s lavatory,” American Airlines said. “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 airline added that Baldwin was “extremely rude” to the flight crew, calling people “inappropriate names” and using offensive language.
Baldwin received some positive affirmation from the company partially responsible for his Words With Friends affinity:
Zynga, the company that created Words With Friends, sent a tweet to show solidarity with the actor: “Hey @AmericanAir, don’t ground @AlecBaldwin for playing. A.B.S.U.R.D. is worth *at least* 11 points in @WordsWFriends.” The company later tweeted a photo (seen here) of a WWF board that displayed the words, “Let Alec Play.”
However, the Reliable Source, reflecting on a list of VIP flight risks, wonders:
With these kinds of characters flying, how safe are the skies anyway?
-Josh Duhamel: Last December, the “Transformers” star was booted off a Kentucky-bound flight for refusing to turn off his BlackBerry.
-Naomi Campbell: Handcuffed and escorted off a 2008 British Airways flight after squabbling with the crew over missing luggage.
-Ivana Trump: A rant at some noisy kids on a 2009 Delta flight turned into a showdown with crewand a quick trip off the plane.
-Peter Buck: The REM guitarist was charged with assault and intoxication after overturning a meal trolley and scuffling with crew on a 2002 British Airways flight; cleared after arguing that a bad mix of sleeping pills and wine messed him up.
-Victoria Osteen: The televangelist’s wife got into it with a flight attendant over some spilled liquid before a Houston-to-Vail trip in 2005, was asked to leave the plane.
-Gerard Depardieu: Held up a flight for two hours in August when a cleaning crew was called in after he relieved himself in a first-class aisle .
Although Baldwin’s fellow passengers may have gotten the raw end of the deal in this situation, the maker of Words With Friends seems to have ended up on top. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said Baldwin’s addiction will likely have a positive impact on Zynga, a company currently engaging in an IPO marketing effort, reports Bloomberg:
“This is phenomenal for Zynga,” said Pachter, who’s based in Los Angeles. “The problem for Zynga with investors has been that the average portfolio manager doesn’t relate to their games. This definitely helps change their perception.”
Zynga took up Baldwin’s cause with Twitter posts featuring the phrase, “#LetAlecPlay.” “Words With Friends” is Zynga’s sixth most popular game, according to Appdata.com.
More on Alec Baldwin and American Airlines:
Alec Baldwin apologizes to flight passengers, laments modern air travel
Baldwin apologizes to passengers for delay
Alec Baldwin receives support from Words With Friends
Do celebs make for unfriendly skies?
Alec Baldwin’s ‘Words with Friends’ obsession gives Zynga a boost