On Tuesday The Blaze reported that actor Alec Baldwin was escorted off an American Airlines flight after getting into an argument with a flight attendant over his use of an iPhone while grounded at the gate.
Sharing his side of the story and issuing an apology to the other passengers on board, Baldwin penned a piece for The Huffington Post Wednesday titled, "A Farewell to Common Sense, Style, and Service on American Airlines." Baldwin began:
First off, I would like to apologize to the other passengers on board the American Airlines flight that I was thrown off of yesterday. It was never my intention to inconvenience anyone with my "issue" with a certain flight attendant.
I suppose a part of my frustration lay with the fact that I had flown American for over 20 years and was brand loyal, in the extreme. The ticketing agents and Admiral's Club staff have always been nothing but abundantly helpful to me, as I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles with the one carrier.
My confusion began when the flight, already a half hour behind schedule, boarded, the door closed, and we proceeded to sit at the gate for another fifteen minutes. I then did what I have nearly always done and that was to pull out my phone to complete any other messaging I had to do before take off. In nearly all other instances, the flight attendants seemed to be unbothered by and said nothing about such activity, by me or anyone else, until we actually were pulling away from the gate.
Baldwin asserts that other passengers, too, were using their phones while sitting at the gate but that he was singled out personally for scorn by a flight attendant who he later refers to as "a 1950's gym teacher."
In this case, while other people were still manipulating their own phones, this one employee singled me out to put my phone away. Afterward, we still sat at the gate. 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, who had decided to make some example of me, while everyone else was left undisturbed, did get the better of me.
"However, I have learned a valuable lesson," writes Baldwin, adding that the level of service on struggling airlines 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" combine to create what Baldwin calls an experience that is as "inelegant as possible."
And while Baldwin maintains that most of the flight attendants he's encountered "still have some remnant of the old idea of service," there are also many who "walk the aisles of an airplane with a whistle around their neck and a clipboard in their hands" and have made flying "a Greyhound bus experience."
He closes with an additional apology to his fellow travelers and shares the lessons learned from his experience:
The lesson I've learned is to keep my phone off when the 1950's gym teacher is on duty. That was my fault there, even though this trip was quite a bit different from so many others. But it is sad, I think, that you've got to fly overseas today in order to bring back what has been thrown overboard by US carriers in terms of common sense, style, and service.
Regardless of one's opinion of Alec Baldwin's politics, or what really happened on that plane (earlier reports indicate that Baldwin was in fact playing an iPhone game which he refused to turn off after being asked to do so multiple times), many out there might agree with his take on the airline industry's deterioration.
From paying upwards of $30 per carry-on bag and even more for checked-luggage, to being forced to purchase a can of soda or even a packet of peanuts (if one is lucky enough to find them on a plane these days) in some instances, the friendly skies have indeed become a lot less friendly.