Last time it was words with his family (specifically, his daughter); this time it was Words With Friends. Alec Baldwin is in trouble for his words. Again.
On Tuesday, Baldwin boarded an American Airlines flight and did not turn off his phone when asked by the crew. The actor was playing the popular Words With Friends game and would not turn off the device before take off.
The Washington Post reported that - quelle surprise - Baldwin and American Airlines have conflicting stories about the incident.
Here's the airline's version: Baldwin became irate and stormed into the bathroom, slamming the door so loudly that it was heard and felt in the cockpit. From the airline bathroom, Baldwin began tweeting about the incident.
Meanwhile, the cockpit crew asked the cabin crew to investigate the situation. Apparently, though hard to believe, the airline reports that Baldwin was then offensive and rude and used "inappropriate" language. The flight was delayed as Baldwin was escorted off the plane.
On Wednesday, American Airlines released a statement on its Facebook page about the incident. Airline officials cited FAA regulations, "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."
Baldwin posted his version of the incident in a blog in the Huffington Post titled My Flying Lesson. He started out with an apology to his fellow passengers for the disturbance and the delay. Then he cited his longtime allegiance to American Airlines. Next he said that the flight was delayed and while they were still sitting at the gate, he took out his phone.
He said that he was singled out by a crew member, even though other passengers were using their phones, too. He put it away. The plane still sat there so he took it out again and was again singled out.
Baldwin referred to the American Airlines crew member as a "1950s gym teacher" with a clipboard and a whistle and said, "They have made flying a Greyhound bus experience."
Interestingly, he made no mention of leaving his seat, the bathroom tweet and being um, less than sweet. In an addendum to his first blog post, he did say, "I never yelled at or used inappropriate language to ANYONE on that plane. American's need to dirty me up is pro forma, but transparent. ... if American was so concerned about my behavior, why did they seat me on the next flight and fly me home to New York at 3 p.m.?"
Seizing an opportunity for publicity and reported widely in the media, Greyhound jumped in to defend it's reputation. Greyhound's CEO, Dave Leach, sent an open letter to Baldwin admitting to some past challenges for the bus company. But he listed the many improved features and services and further, he invited Baldwin to accompany him on a trip from New York to Boston.
Leach tried to entice Baldwin by mentioning that he would not have to turn off any of his electronic devices for the trip.
After many heated Twitter reponses about the incident, Baldwin deactivated his Twitter account.
Baldwin made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live last night to spoof the incident. He played .... wait for it....an airline pilot...and apologized to himself.
Baldwin's Saturday Night Live appearances are usually hilarious and legendary. In my opinion, unfortunately, this was not up to his usual standard.
Did Alec learn his Flying Lesson? Will he fly the friendly skies again? Will he be singing The Wheels on the Bus? In any event, Baldwin should really stay away from words games of any kind. It seems he is much more suited for Angry Birds.