A day after Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight for disobeying a flight attendant’s instructions to put away his electronic device (and thereby end his Words with Friends game), the actor decided he did nothing wrong and felt compelled to let us know how he perceives the incident. And so last night, he wrote “My Flying Lesson” in his Huffington Post column, and apologized for disturbing his fellow travelers while also criticizing the air travel industry.
After expressing remorse for upsetting the other people on the plane, Baldwin explained part of the reason he got so upset was because he’d been a loyal customer of American Airlines for around 20 years, and he was upset that a flight attendant would choose to target him when there were plenty of other people in the proximity who were also using their phones. He revealed the first time he was asked to put his phone away he was compliant, but then took it back out when the plane remained at the gate and did not appear to be taking off. He went on to say, “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 (he calls at the end of the article “the 1950’s gym teacher”) who had decided to make some example of me, while everyone else was left undisturbed, did get the better of me.”
Baldwin then wrote about how the terrorist attacks of 9/11 have affected traveling, saying “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.”
Since the column was posted last night, Baldwin issued an update to respond to the people who questioned why he insisted on being treated better than everyone else. He replied to the masses with “People posting here pose the question, ‘Why do I believe I need to be treated differently from other passengers?’ My answer is ‘I don’t.’ So, why was everyone else on that flight using a phone and I was the only one hectored about that? Twice. Sometimes one can be treated differently in a not-so-cuddly way. Take my word for it.”
While we’re all going to have our opinions about whether or not cell phone use really does interfere with the way planes operate, I think we can all agree on a few things: one, that we’ve all used our cell phones when we weren’t supposed to, two: that flight attendants have a pretty rough job, three: that Baldwin is, yeah, kind of insisting he be treated better than everyone else, and four: that his Tracy Morgan impression was much more newsworthy.