(By Christopher Robbins) In the midst of the most important story of our time, Alec Baldwin's spokesman wants us to know that getting the boot from an American Airlines flight was just Alec being Alec. "Alec loves Words With Friends so much that he was willing to leave a plane for it," flack Matthew Hilzik tells the Daily News. And fellow famous-person Oscar De La Hoya, who was on the flight from LAX to JFK, tweeted "I think the flight attendant over reacted @AlecBaldwin was doing nothing wrong but playing 'words' on his phone." But couldn't this just be some celebrity Omertá? According to American Airlines, Baldwin was acting like a thoughtless little pig.
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.
Steve Weiss, a non-celebrity passenger on the flight, corroborates this version of events. “He got up, threw his papers on the floor and stormed into the bathroom, slammed the door closed, beat on the wall and then came back,” Weiss told the Post. “He said, ‘If you want to kick me off, kick me off.’ He was just crazy. He just flipped out.” Another account has him talking on the phone, not playing games.
Director Kevin Smith, no stranger to airline rage & rejection, tweeted, "In 1999, I worked with @AlecBaldwin on the CLERKS cartoon. We made this bet about who could get booted off an airplane more spectacularly " We still say Kevin wins.
After a rash of cheeky tweets last night, Baldwin instructed his followers to "unfollow" him and then deactivated his Twitter account. Are these the actions of an innocent man? Why don't we hear about Daniel Baldwin getting kicked off planes? Is it because he's just nicer and more respectful a person, and therefore a better actor? Then again, everyone knows that the order to "turn off your electronic devices at take off and landing or else the wings will fall off" order is horseshit. Will this incident help us reclaim those missing six minutes of our lives in which we're not allowed to be using our cellphones?
One thing is certain: TMZ probably should have sent a more seasoned intern to meet Baldwin at JFK Airport.