Alec Baldwin blames 9/11 security rules for flight ruckus
Alec Baldwin, who was kicked off an American Airlines flight Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport after a dispute with the airline crew, blamed the incident in part on post-9/11 security measures.
Baldwin, writing in a blog about the incident, noted that airlines have struggled in recent years with bankruptcy and declining service.
"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," he wrote in the blog post. "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."
American Airlines said in a statement that Baldwin was "extremely rude" and called the flight crew inappropriate names that led to his being kicked off a flight in Los Angeles.
The airline said it would provide the "actual facts" of the matter after "an extremely vocal customer" publicly identified himself.
On a plane about to leave Los Angeles International for New York on Tuesday, Baldwin declined to turn off his cellphone at the appropriate time, then stood up, took his phone into the restroom and slammed the door, the airline said.
"He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed, even with the cockpit door closed and locked," the statement said. "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."
American said cellphones must be turned off for taxiing and takeoff, according to FAA regulations.
Baldwin's Twitter account had been deactivated Wednesday morning, but in earlier tweets he criticized the airline and vowed never to fly American again.
"Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving," Baldwin said, later adding: "#theresalwaysunited."
His spokesman issued a statement that the actor loved the online game so much "he was willing to leave a plane for it."
Boxer Oscar De La Hoya was on the same flight and later described the scene to reporters in New York: "I actually felt Alec Baldwin was turning off his devices, and he just got a little angry."
He said on Twitter that he thought the flight attendant overreacted and that Baldwin did "nothing wrong."
-- Kimi Yoshino, Andrew Blankstein and Shelby Grad
Photo: Alec Baldwin, shown in January, was kicked off an American Airlines flight Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times