Overheard on CNN.com: Baldwin's refusal to turn off cell phone no surprise to many
Word of actor Alec Baldwin being booted from an American Airlines plane spread quickly.
December 7th, 2011
03:42 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Baldwin's refusal to turn off cell phone no surprise to many

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Alec Baldwin's addiction to the cell phone game "Words with Friends" got him booted from an American Airlines plane parked at a Los Angeles International Airport gate Tuesday, the actor's spokesman said.

Baldwin tweeted he would never again fly on American Airlines, "where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants."

Readers focused on two issues: outrage over Baldwin's behavior toward a flight attendant and frustration over rules about the in-flight use of cell phones and electronic devices. They also commented on Baldwin's past treatment of his daughter and public comments he's made.

Game addiction costs Alec Baldwin his airline seat

Many readers, such as MistrMistr, expressed outrage: "So because he's a 'star' he can break the rules? Then he goes on Twitter and tells his sheep about (it) so they can all be amazed that they would do that to the 'Alec the Great.' But the worst part? American Airlines is kissing his butt."

Other commenters agreed, saying celebrities should not be entitled to special treatment on airplanes.

lcook5: "American Airlines is not a big favorite with me, but this is ridiculous. Not complying with federal flight restrictions should get anyone kicked off a flight. Why do some of the rich and/or famous see themselves as above the law? If I were American Airlines, I would permanently ban him from any additional flights and advise all other airlines of the potential problems if they allow him to fly with them. Baldwin should be ashamed of himself."

Readers said Baldwin was hard on the flight attendant, although there were some who were curious about what happened.

MaddChatter: "I've been on hundreds of flights and never heard a flight attendant give an instruction that should not have been followed. Alec Baldwin would have us believe the flight attendant is at fault. Turn off your game. He should have been arrested on a felony for not following instructions of a flight attendant. You and I would not have been given such a courtesy for forcing the plane to return to the gate impacting all passengers. He hops on the next flight and tweets his peeps as if he was the victim. No. You are the criminal."

cons2tution: "No, what is criminal is that you jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts. How many times was he asked to turn off the device? Was he warned that he needed to turn it off? Was he told - in direct fashion - to turn it off?"

MaddChatter: "@cons2tution: Are you assuming that the plane returned to the gate based on his actions without him being told? What irrational assumption is being made? He only needs to be told once. Yes, he was warned. If you think the plane disembarked without him being told why, you clearly have never been on a plane."

Bad behavior on a plane is nothing unusual, a few commenters noted.

Smyling: "I'm surprised they picked on someone in first class. I've been on flights lately where the people in front of us in economy reclined as we were boarding, and ignored the flight attendants asking them to put their seats upright. Incredible. I've also sat next to someone who kept typing on a laptop as we were landing! The lack of regard for rules of any type on planes is amazing. But the worst were three people who filed and painted their nails on a transatlantic flight - three coats of varnish - and then cut their toenails and painted those! Talk about toxic!"

Some readers mentioned the game wasn't worth the trouble.

JoseinLargo: "I think Baldwin sounds pretty childish in this story."

newFuture2: Sounds like a 'Words With Friends' advertising campaign ('guerilla marketing') actually. Never heard of it ...  and not interested. ...  Life's too short. ...

sadtosay: "The best part is that game is not at all real-time based. Waiting a few minutes to make a move has no more consequence than waiting a day."

One reader took notice of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor:

ruseaworthy: "On the day we all pause to remember Pearl Harbor, it's sad to think so many great men died so idiots like this could convince themselves they are somehow important in the history of mankind."

Another noted Baldwin's technology use, connecting it with the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs' reputation for having a caustic personality:

Jeffbaseball: "Baldwin is a reflection of the arrogant tech society. "Me and my personal electronics are more important than you" mentality. It's amazing how narcissistic America thinks only about themselves. Steve Jobs, you did a great job into fueling the fire of American arrogance."

DrTrollworth: "Yes, I blame Steve Jobs entirely for this one. If he hadn't ever influenced America, we wouldn't be in this mess."

There were a lot of comments that addressed what some readers believe is a pattern of behavior in Baldwin's life.

Devices: "This guy makes TV commercials for Capital One Bank one day and goes out to support (Occupy Wall Street) the next day. Now this CNN story adds another black mark to his faltering reputation caused by the gross voice message he left his daughter."

LisaBoo: "Use to like this guy, but remember that recording that was released of him (screaming at) his daughter? Well, I lost a lot of respect for him at that point. And now I'm not surprised at all by this; this man has no regard for rules or how he talks to people."

One reader came to the defense of Catholic school gym teachers everywhere.

Arkady: "What's wrong with being a retired Catholic school gym teacher?! I, myself, did not go to Catholic school. But, back in the day, the one in my area - St. Anthony's - had some of the best lacrosse and football on Long Island! I'd even met some of the guys who went there, and they all seemed like straight-up dudes!"

Another reader said the flight attendant was out of line:

Amemor: "Anyone remember when flight attendants acted like they were happy to have you aboard?"

RusTnuts: "Oh yeah, that was back when people didn't feel it was their right to abuse the people serving them. If Baldwin would have pulled that in a New York McDonald's, he would have got a serious Hollywood beatdown with his fries."

Finally, several commenters wanted to discuss the use of electronics in planes, questioning whether it's necessary to restrict them.

"What a lot fuss about nothing," Aunti  said. "Are the airlines really relying on passengers to turn off electronic devices for safety? I seriously hope not. Are passengers really that dumb that they think their lives could be in danger if a couple of phones or laptops are on? Obviously, yes. Funny, international airlines never worry about such matters and none have fallen from the sky because of it."

sassybw replied that it was largely a concern of projectile objects: "If one flies up and breaks someone's nose, they would get sued."

But a lot of commenters begged to differ on the safety of cell phones while in flight.

PublicAnimal: "The airlines need to stop making people turn off their cell phones before takeoff. If it's in airplane mode, it's incapable of causing any interference. Shoot, even if it's not in airplane mode, it's incapable of causing any interference. I'll never understand why they persist with this annoying custom for absolutely no reason.

AndresDavid: "I'm in the Air Force, and I can tell you that just one cell phone causes an annoying amount of interference, making it difficult to communicate with your co-pilot or the tower. Now, imagine a hundred passengers each with his or her own cell phone. It would make for a very unsafe takeoff/landing."

One commenter said that even a small risk of a plane crash isn't worth taking the chance and that Baldwin's wish to continue playing his game was unreasonable.

ghostridercb: "And when your plane crashes because it interfered with the equipment on a plane, feel free to not sue the airlines for the loss of your loved ones. The cost of an accident, should one occur, could be extremely high in terms of human life and the risk is completely avoidable in that no one absolutely needs to use their mobile phone in flight. The regulatory agencies and aviation industry take the position that any increased risk is unacceptable if it is avoidable.

"Lastly, GSM-based phones can cause a harmonic buzz, which would interfere with a pilot's radio communication. Additionally, while one or two phones might not be enough to impact the frequency's and computers on a plane, 200 to 300 on at once very well could.

"How freaking hard is it to turn off your phone. Baldwin should be booted from every flight where he disrupts the plane's course. If he doesn't like it, he can fly private."

What do you think about these issues? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Air travel • Aviation • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. dan

    They should have put his hippy butt in jail. Him and all the other OWS protesters.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      Thanks for that brainstorm Dan

      December 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Your Captain speaking

    Errrrrrrrrrr....this is your captain speaking......errrrrrrrrrrrrrr........it looks like we're going to be delayed for a bit.........errrrrrrrrrrrrr........we'll need to return to the gate.....errrrrrrrrr.......it looks like one of our passengers is being a dick....errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..........you may know him as someone who plays a lot of characters in movies who are dicks........errrr......all this time I just thought he was a great actor but it turns out he really is a dick and was just being himself........errrrrrrrrrrrr............anyway we apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for choosing American Airlines...CRACKLE CRACKLE THUNK *

    December 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Your Captain speaking

    Errrrrrrrrrr....this is your captain speaking......errrrrrrrrrrrrrr........it looks like we're going to be delayed for a bit.........errrrrrrrrrrrrr........we'll need to return to the gate.....errrrrrrrrr.......it looks like one of our passengers is being a d1ck....errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..........you may know him as someone who plays a lot of characters in movies who are d1cks........errrr......all this time I just thought he was a great actor but it turns out he really is a d1ck and was just being himself........errrrrrrrrrrrr............anyway we apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for choosing American Airlines...CRACKLE CRACKLE THUNK *

    December 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    Immature Old Man. Say's it all.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lawrence

    It's Steve Jobs' fault for inventing the iPhone

    December 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Maureen Dare

    American Airline pilot should be given a raise, in regard to Alec Baldwin's childish reply. This is the same guy that was going to leave our country after the Bush admin.? Why is he still here? No wonder his wife left him! Again, hooray for the pilot!

    December 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. justathought

    I wonder if this happens with insignificant people who are never mentioned in the news, or just celebrities? Personally, I pay little attention to what celebrities do.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nico


    i'm not sure why alec baldwin was kicked off the flight, when obviously other passengers had THEIR devices on - there were tweets at the time, on that flight and about alec, from at least two other people.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kriegar

      WELL SAID!

      December 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. justathought

    It would be interesting if all the other airlines boycotted him and other like him.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jimbo

    The Baldwin boys!, what a group of asssclowns, really folks, This is what America thinks is a star!

    December 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    Alec Baldwin is a C-leb who believes his own hype! I have no respect for him! He has terrorized his x-wife, & his daughter & obviously thinks the rules of "the peons" don't apply to him! The reason electronic devices need to be shut off during take offs & landings is because said devices can interfere with airplane computerized systems! This "man" endangered all aboard the plane & is now playing the victim role! It actually suits him, he's a victim of his own "entitlement complex!" More power to the flight attendants every where who take ALL passengers safety seriously! Thanks to all of you!!

    December 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I think American Airlines is not the "only" airline, that has to steer it's customers to comply with federal regulations. Therefore O.K. Mr. Baldwin, if you feel that strongly about American Airilines, and feel you must continue with your Words with Friends addiction, then let's actually "see" you continue playing the game while boarding "other" airlines, until they "make you walk" to wherever it is your going.

    December 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO

    I think they should have waited to throw Baldwin off the plane – at least until they were airborn.

    December 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Dang it. Posted too soon. The next sentece was supposed to be –

      Let's see if he has a parachute app on that smartphone.

      December 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    The only reason this story *is* is alec baldwin. He can't be the first person thrown off a plane for something like that. If it was jeff franklin, who would care?

    I don't know alec baldwin. Don't necessarily want to. He's just a dude.. I don't care what he thinks, and don't care what he does.

    I pay him to make me laugh. Which he, most triumphantly, does. I am a huge fan of his work. And will remain so.

    I don't really care about the lives of celebrities, or who they 'really' are.. Any more so than they care about me.

    Kick him off. Sue him cuz you were late for an important meeting. See if i care..

    December 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gung hoe

    Hey remember that commercial that he plays a copilot and says dont worry i play that part well.WELL kinda looks like he needs some more practice!!

    December 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa


      December 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • HOWARD

      Alec Baldwin should be kicked off the 3rd planet from the sun ... and,
      I'm not just talking about the T.V. show !!! This pompus, self
      important, thug, loves to beat up on little girls, like his own
      daughter, and stewardesses. This phony, who goes to occupier rallies
      with obnoxious protests, has a personal net worth of over 60 million
      dollars, which he made from a decade of bad acting.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Kriegar

      Really-jealous much?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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