Alec Baldwin Apologizes -- Sort of -- for Airplane Meltdown
Baldwin penned an apology that managed to insult the airline industry.
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Actor Alec Baldwin was kicked off an American Airlines flight Tuesday after he allegedly refused to stop playing a game on his cell phone. (Getty Images)
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The incident happened on Tuesday, when Baldwin was flying from Los Angeles to New York City.
He was playing a game on his iPhone called 'Words with Friends,' and the airline says he refused to turn off the phone as the plane was leaving the gate.
Baldwin told the Huffington Post on Wednesday that he wants to apologize to his fellow passengers, but not to the "1950s gym teacher" flight attendant or other members of the crew that forced him to leave.
"First off, I would like to apologize to the other passengers onboard the American Airlines flight that I was thrown off of yesterday," Baldwin wrote.
"It was never my intention to inconvenience anyone with my 'issue' with a certain flight attendant."
He admitted that he was asked to put his phone away multiple times, but said other passengers had their phones out, and he felt he was "singled out" by the flight attendant.
But his admission of any fault ended there.
Baldwin went on to offer a scathing criticism of the airline industry at large:
"It's no secret that the level of service on U.S. carriers has deteriorated to a point that would make Howard Hughes red-faced," Baldwin wrote.
"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"
In a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday, American Airlines gave its version of events.
"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," the airline said.
The statement continued: "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 planes 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 airline says Baldwin 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," the statement concludes.
Baldwin took to Twitter immediately following the incident, saying, among other things, that he would never fly American again.
His Twitter account has since been deactivated.
No investigations have been opened into the incident, law enforcement sources said, but American Airlines could choose to file a complaint with the FAA.
This was not Baldwin's first publicized outburst.
In 2007, he infamously left a voice mail for his young daughter calling her a "rude, thoughtless little pig."
He later apologized and wrote a book inspired by the incident.