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'Rude' Alec Baldwin fled to toilet, booted from plane

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 7:22 PM EST, Wed December 7, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Flight attendant "singled me out" as others kept using their phones, Baldwin says
  • NEW: "I've learned is to keep my phone off when the 1950's gym teacher is on duty," he says
  • American Airlines boots Baldwin from flight after he slammed toilet door, airline says
  • Airline calls Baldwin "extremely rude to the crew"

Los Angeles (CNN) -- An American Airlines pilot booted Alec Baldwin off a flight Tuesday because the actor refused to turn off his cell phone after the plane's doors were closed for departure, the airline said Wednesday.

"The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language," the company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Baldwin, in a column published by The Huffington Post Wednesday, apologized to fellow passengers who were delayed by the incident. But he blamed a flight attendant who "singled me out to put my phone away" while other passengers continued to use theirs.

"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," Baldwin wrote.

After Baldwin refused to turn off his cell phone, with the seat belt light on for departure, he walked into the toilet with his phone, 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 airline said. "They immediately contacted the cabin crew to check on the situation."

"Given the facts above, the passenger was removed from the flight and denied boarding," the company said.

The "confusion" started after the plane remained at the gate for 15 minutes after the door closed, Baldwin wrote.

"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," he said. "In nearly all other instances, the flight attendants seemed to be unbothered ... and said nothing about such activity, by me or anyone else, until we actually were pulling away from the gate."

Although other passengers were still using their phones, a female flight attendant "singled me out to put my phone away," he said.

He pulled his phone out again after the plane remained at the gate, he said. "Again, I was singled out by this woman in the most unpleasant of tones."

Boxer Oscar De LaHoya, who was also on the plane, posted a Twitter message of support for the actor, saying, "I think the flight attendant over reacted.'

Word of Baldwin's clash with the crew spread worldwide within minutes of his being escorted from the New York-bound flight at a Los Angeles International Airport gate, because of Twitter postings by Baldwin and a passenger.

"On an AA flight at LAX. Alec Baldwin removed from the plane We had to go back to the gate. Terrible that everyone had to wait," tweeted Michael J. Wolf, a consulting firm executive who was a passenger on the flight.

A short time later, Baldwin tweeted to his nearly 600,000 followers: "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving."

When CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin -- no relation -- tagged Alec Baldwin in a tweet asking about "Words with Friends," the actor replied, "It's...well....addicting."

"Words With Friends" is a digital word-building game popular on several platforms.

Another Baldwin tweet took aim at the crew, saying he would never again fly on American Airlines, "where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants."

The star of NBC's "30 Rock" noted in his tweets that "oddly, 30 Rock plays inflight on American."

A posting on the airline's Twitter account showed the company was trying to reach Baldwin. "Mr. Baldwin, we are looking into this. Please DM us contact information," the company tweeted.

In his column, he said he had happily flown American Airlines for 20 years and until now was "brand loyal, in the extreme."

Most of the flight attendants "still have some remnant of the old idea of service," he said. "But there are many now who walk the aisles of an airplane with a whistle around their neck and a clipboard in their hands and they have made flying a Greyhound bus experience."

"The lesson I've learned is to keep my phone off when the 1950's gym teacher is on duty," he wrote.

Despite the apparent distress, Baldwin's journey resumed.

"Now on the 3 o'clock American flight. The flight attendants already look.....smarter," he tweeted.

Baldwin arrived at New York's JFK Airport on an American Airlines flight Tuesday evening.

CNN's Jack Hannah and Douglas Hyde contributed to this report.

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