The ongoing war between celebrities and flight attendants that is slowly bankrupting the airline industry saw another major skirmish yesterday, when Alec Baldwin found himself removed from an American Airlines plane for refusing to turn off his cell phone in accordance with regulations written by people who did not see Glengarry Glen Ross, apparently, otherwise they’d have added an exemption. Like so many famous people before him, Baldwin immediately took to Twitter to recount the incident, saying, “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving,” then adding the hashtags, “#nowonderamericaairisbankrupt” and “#theresalwaysunited.” Further details about the incident were filled in first by a fellow passenger who noted that Baldwin’s argument with the attendants forced the plane to return to the gate, then by TMZ, who leapt on the story with typical TMZ gusto, because Kim Kardashian is dead maybe.
Today the site printed an official statement from the airline that, tellingly, refers to Baldwin only as “the passenger” and “an extremely vocal customer,” noting that after he was told to turn off his phone, Baldwin “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." It goes on to say that Baldwin was “extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language,” eventually leading to his being removed and, in the ultimate revenge, booked on another American Airlines flight.
Baldwin initially laughed off the brouhaha, vowing that it would be his last American flight before pledging allegiance to United, then joking that American Airlines is “where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants.” (Which is ridiculous; those people all work as TSA supervisors, hectoring you about putting your shoes flat on the conveyor belt, people.) But as attention to the story slowly mushroomed over the course of yesterday, he apparently got a little more nihilistic about it all: Last night he encouraged all of his readers to join in a “Mass Unfollowing,” leading to his popular account’s eventual deactivation (though it still exists in ghostly mirror form here). So, in this particular battle between airline crews and famous people on Twitter, somehow nobody won.