Alec Baldwin Has Given American Airlines Management a Golden Opportunity

It’s amazing how much coverage this whole Alec Baldwin vs. American Airlines thing has received over the last few days. Alec keeps pushing further and further while American sits mostly still. In my eyes, this would be a fantastic opportunity for American’s “new” management team to start re-building the shattered relationship between the airline and its people. American should tell Alec Baldwin to f*** off, and it can have some real fun with this.

American's Tom Horton Should Take On Alec Baldwin

Ok, so maybe that exact reaction would be a little strong, but the point is that American should publicly tell Alec Baldwin that he’s not welcome on the silver birds again until he apologizes to the crew involved.

Why go to such extremes? Had it just ended last week after the incident played out, then I’d say it’s best to just let it go. But Alec continues to egg American on every day. First, he “apologized” on the Huffington Post. But it wasn’t an apology to the airline and its crew – only to the passengers who were delayed.

Then he went on to Saturday Night Live posing as the captain on the flight (with only 3 stripes on his “captain” uniform, harrumph), and just rubbed it in the airline’s face. It was pretty funny. See for yourself.

American should strike back, but not for PR reasons. American should do it for its employees.

What exactly happened on that airplane? I have no idea, but it doesn’t matter. My guess is that it was the same struggle that happens every day. He wouldn’t turn off his phone even though it was time to go, and then an argument ensued. It got heated enough that they threw him off the flight. Keep in mind, American isn’t doing this for fun. It has to enforce that policy thanks to federal regulations. So, he can complain all he wants about how an electronic device won’t bring an airplane down, but that’s not American’s problem. Maybe the employee was overzealous in trying to get him to shut it off, but that doesn’t matter here. The path forward should be clear.

With Alec taunting American on a daily basis, the employees are getting angry. American should jump on board and support them.

Tom Horton took over the CEO job just a couple weeks ago when the airline filed for bankruptcy protection. This is a chance for him to leave his mark, showing that he’s going to support his people. It’s a small gesture that would show a very different American Airlines. It should come directly from the top, and it should show a different kind of tone. If Tom can do impressions, I’d say they should throw him in front of a camera pretending to be Alec Baldwin. If he’s what we come to expect of American management, then we’ll need to find someone else with comedic timing. There are a lot of creative people at American that could put something good together, all with Tom taking the lead as the face of the response.

Though people love to hate airlines, people would support American here. Take a look at the sampling of the nearly 2,500 comments on American’s Facebook post about the incident. Sure, some support Alec, but there is a lot of support for American here. (And yes, some are employees, but still.)

And, though I hate touching on politics here, since Alec Baldwin is trotted out as a stereotypical Hollywood liberal time and time again, the right would love to see him put in his place. And the left, well, they aren’t going to care.

Will the studio be mad? I doubt it. This just generates more publicity for Alec, and this wouldn’t be really bad publicity.

But the point is that the employees of the airline would love it. They’d love to see their new management team taking a bold stand to support them. And if the airline used some humor in the response, it would really show a different kind of American Airlines. That’s exactly what Tom Horton needs to do now. He needs people to forget the Gerard Arpey era and move on to something new.

So, come on Tom. Put together something fun here and take a stand to support your people. The exact details of the incident don’t matter, but the fact that Alec keeps rubbing it in your face should be enough to get you out there.

[Original photo from Team America: World Police]

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63 Comments on "Alec Baldwin Has Given American Airlines Management a Golden Opportunity"

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Ben
Guest

Or better yet, have Horton come out with a serious “demand” on behalf of the employees. Then, have soon-to-be Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Maya Leibman come out with the funny side. We know that she can handle that well. Horton comes across as a no-nonsense ‘we support our employees no matter what’ type of guy, while they can still get in their dig through Leibman.

CS
Guest

I can see it now. “Hey, I’m Tom Horton, American Airlines has a long history of industry firsts and we’re proud to continue that tradition today as American becomes the first 100% Alec Baldwin free Airline. That’s right enjoy all the without the harassment from stars of yesteryear.”

Too bad they won’t do it.

Emme Elle
Guest

I travel for a living and couldn’t agree more. He was insulting to the crew when he continues his antics for publicity, we in the industry and American Airlines lose.

I hope they put him on a permanent no fly list for AA.

jr
Member

Hey he should be relegated to US Air for that move….

Jim M
Guest

First of all nice Team America reference. F*ck ya!

It would be great if AA would stand with the flight attendants and at atleast boot 30 Rock off the inflight programming. Which would be a shame for the public becuase that show is almost as funny as a movie dedicated to puppets. Almost.

Jason H
Guest
I agree Cranky. Too many business refuse to stand up for their employees and insist that the customer is always right. In all my experience it is the companies and managers that stand behind their employees and when necessary step up for those same employees that are a joy to work for… as much as work can be a joy that is. Alec Baldwin and many others who act out (the soldiers with the Delta checked bag thing for example) are acting just like a two year old; no insult intended to real two year olds. They are pushing to… Read more »
Chase
Guest
At first, it was probably reasonable for the airline to assume the problem would quickly go away; alas, Baldwin didn’t let it go. Still I suspect that the lack of response at this point has perhaps more to do with potentially saving face with NBC and/or any other corporate entities that may support Baldwin (generally even, not necessarily his behaviour in this moment) than it is an attempt to “insist the customer is always right”. This isn’t exactly an industry that has been known for such efforts in recent years, nor have customers acted in ways that would suggest the… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

Interference from electronic devices is a real threat to safety. I’m old enough to remember the series of airline crashes and incidents (not well, but I vaguely remember one was a mid-air collision?) that caused the policy to be put into place.

So this isn’t a trivial matter. I do feel AMR should be more vocal; not only for its employees but for airline safety in general. Maybe American should hire Baldwin to do the new safety video for American post bankruptcy. If Horton doesn’t do it, Doug Parker might.

buck stradler
Guest

Sometimes I get the impression that in your eyes an airline can do no wrong – yet every person that’s ever been near a plane knows that the people who deal with passengers are so often obnoxious arseholes.

David SF eastbay
Member
I just read in todays paper that the America F/A’s are now asking AA to drop ’30 Rock’ and not show it on the airplanes. The whole thing has gone to far and if it was a normal everyday person you may not have even heard there was a problem. But because it’s a celeb it gets media attention and now Baldwin and the network are just being Hollywood media whores and wanting all the attention they can get. You knew right when it first came out SNL would have a skit on it and since Baldwin has been on… Read more »
joelbader3
Member

Does anyone still watch that show? Perhaps American could show episodes of The Simpsons or Disney/Muppet shows.

longtimeobserver
Member

Of course this assumes it wasn’t an over-reaction by the cabin crew, which absent the evidence can’t be ruled out.

Oliver
Guest

Whatever happens, is Baldwin ever going to eat or drink something on an AA flight without wondering exactly what went on in the galley? As I have been told many times, don’t mess with the people who serve you food or drink ;)

As for AA backing their employees and banning Baldwin, I agree – it would be a great way to start rebuilding relations with the rank and file. Maybe Spirit could then seize the opportunity and offer to fly Baldwin.

Morgan Hausrath
Guest

I can tell you that ALL airline employees would love this! Great idea!!!

Nathaniel
Member

And maybe, just maybe the general public will learn to turn off the devices when they are supposed to so incidents like this don’t happen in the future.

FRANK
Guest
MOST LIKELY NOT. Why? Because the one agency that’s responsible for this issue isnt coming forward and enforcing it’s regulation with a FINE. The FAA, who requires flight attendants to enforce this regulation! As usual, I dont hear anyone backing the employee! Airlines hate bad publicity and they’re basically staying silent on the matter. SHAME on the FAA for doing the same!!! By allowing the passenger to get away with not following the RULES, it tells the passenger it’s NOT that important or has consequences. Both, AA and the FAA should be doing their jobs!!!!!
FRANK
Guest

I’m UPSET the FAA isnt taking any action here. I’m required to enforce their rules on a daily basis. By American and the FAA doing nothing, they’re basically rewarding bad behavior. The FAA should fine this IDIOT. While I agree that AA should do something here, back up their employees publicly, I dont believe SAFETY should be overshadowed here with………something “fun”.

FRANK
Guest

MOST LIKELY NOT. Why? Because the one agency that’s responsible for this issue isnt coming forward and enforcing it’s regulation with a FINE. The FAA, who requires flight attendants to enforce this regulation! As usual, I dont hear anyone backing the employee! Airlines hate bad publicity and they’re basically staying silent on the matter. SHAME on the FAA for doing the same!!! By allowing the passenger to get away with not following the RULES, it tells the passenger it’s NOT that important or has consequences.

FAA, DO YOUR JOB, Fine the Idiot.

jr
Member
I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could take a phone away from the all the “I am too important to follow the rules” people. I have watched people fake turning them of only to lean down and pretend they are digging in the bag and finishing a call. After that they need to clamp down on the two carry on bag policy, again ladies with a roll on board, lap top case, pocket book and a shopping bag…. let me see I went to school in NYC and even i can count to 4. But that… Read more »
broadcreek48
Member

Waste of energy .. waste of time.. briefly amusing at the onset …. now an infantile story….thumbs down on this fabricated controversy.

Consumer Mike
Guest
I see that my opinion is one of minority, as usual I cannot fully agree with CF. The reason is that as I understand it the flight was already delayed and holding at the gate – GOING NO WHERE. These long delays can be super frustrating to travelers. In this case, if these facts are correct, I don’t see why AA could not have been a little more flexable in their enforcement of this regulation. What if you were stuck on the landing strip waiting for a gate or held due to Traffic Control for an hour or more? This… Read more »
joelbader3
Member

At the risk of putting American at a disadvantage, I urge ALL airlines to ban Alec Bawld-win from flying for at least a year. No if, no ands, no buts about it. If Alec feels that he is that important, then he can charter his own plane or even go on Greyhound or Amtrak. After that suspension is over, Alec should be only allowed with a customer service rep who would have to power to put him in handcuffs if need be.

AS
Guest
Yes, let’s punish an innocent passenger (granted, who has access to media to make this visible) rather than dealing with the fundamental issue. Baldwin was ejected from the aircraft, by a flight attendant selectively enforcing the rules, for ‘contempt of flight attendant’. People would respect flight attendants more if they enforced the rules consistently (eg. everyone needs to turn off their phones, not just people the flight attendant decides to pick on), if they followed them too (eg. no flight attendant texting while taxiing, something I have observed multiple times), and if they didn’t demonstrate power trip issues (eg. inventing… Read more »
MSPlanecrazy
Guest
I was a crew member for several years before being laid off 3 years ago and for all the abuse that FA’s take from rude and unruly passengers he should be on AA’s no-fly list. The FA should only have to ask him once to turn off his phone, and since he was interfering with the flight crew he was asked to leave. AA needs to support its employees for enforcing the rules that the FAA created. If Alec thinks he is so special and is exempt from having to turn his cell phone off when asked then he should… Read more »
Airport Avenger
Guest
Unfortunately American and most other U.S. airlines are perceived as “the enemy” by a great number of fliers. Rising fares, fees for almost any extra service, unexplained delays, misleading fares, rude employees and all the other things that can make flying miserable on any given day have made Baldwin, not American employees, the victim in this ridiculous affair. Sure, Baldwin’s a jerk. But plenty of passengers have had to put up with airline antics as well for a while now. If American wants to score some real points and start flying right when it gets out of bankruptcy protection, let’s… Read more »
Consumer Mike
Guest

I totally agree with Airport Avenger. The remarks hit the nail on the head.

BW
Guest

FAA regulations say that if the door is closed, electronic devices must be turned off unless permission is given by the flight crew to use them.

Take it up with the FAA or your congressperson if you don’t like the rule. AA has no control over that.

Graham
Guest

Agree with Brett. There’s no down side for them making a video about this. All the major issues that have been huge snafus could have shown a human reaction by responding. Think about the United Breaks Guitars guy. That was not good for them. They should produce something. I’m sure the AA marketing people are suggesting it and the head office is probably shooting it down.

David SF eastbay
Member
I haven’t read anything here and don’t pay attention to TV on this subject, but where are the other passengers who would have been sitting around Baldwin and hearing all this? The way everyone wants their 15mins of fame and how the media seems to track people down, why haven’t other passengers come forward/been found and fans of Baldwin/30 Rock/NBC/SNL been on the NBC morning shows saying how innocent Baldwin is and how the AA F/A was Godzilla crashing around Tokyo or non-fans of Baldwin/30 Rock/NBC/SNL been on the other stations morning show saying what a monster Baldwin was? This… Read more »
cahilldot
Member

alex baldwin is an idiot and needs to be put in his place by AA

Nick Barnard
Member

You know, I hate to get into politics, but this smacks of a 1%er wanting something that the 99% doesn’t get. If you want that sort of really special treatment, charter a plane. When you’re on a commercial carrier, you’ve gotta follow the rules, which say that you follow what the flight crew tells you. Storming off in a huff into the restroom is just childish.

I think AA should do a re-enactment with a Baldwin look alike and the CEO kicking him off personally.

Terri
Guest
I would LOVE to sit next to Alec Baldwin on an airplane even when he is in his worst mood…you have to admit, he is one sexy devil!!!! :) But to the point of this so-called article, having worked in customer service for years and having dealt with extremely unreasonable d-bags, the employees should have handled the situation better and more professionally. For American Airlines to put Mr. Baldwin on another one of their flights, shows they were not to worried about their employees/passengers or maybe that the situation was blown out of proportion. I think AA may have been… Read more »
FRANK
Guest

Terri on December 13, 2011.
But to the point of this so-called article, having worked in customer service for years and having dealt with extremely unreasonable d-bags, the employees should have handled the situation better and more professionally
————————————————-

How would YOU know what protocol is for federal non-compliance of FAR’s are in this situation?

Kyle
Guest

How many announcements need to be made and personally told to shut off cell phones before you get hauled off? It’s not like it was his first flight. He knew the rules, yet thinks he’s too good to follow them.

Consumer Mike
Guest

How many times do you have to tell an airline it is now against the law to keep passengers captive on an aircraft more than 3 hours? They know the Rules and Regulations. It’s not like any of the airlines are just starting out.

My point, certain responsibilities are abused on BOTH sides of the fence.

FRANK
Guest

Great, then, follow up those responsibilities with FINES by passengers who dont follow them!!!!!!!!!!!

Nick Barnard
Member

If you had a magical counter and tracked everytime someone disobeyed a flight attendant enforcing FAA rules and compared that to the number of passengers on planes longer than three hours, I’m quite sure the passengers disregard the regulations much more than the airlines. People aren’t perfect, neither are airlines.

FRANK
Guest

Mike, who released the aircraft to go sit out there for who knows how long?

Kyle
Guest

@Consumer Mike- There are now rules governing long sits on airplanes. If the airlines break them they are fined heavily by the government. Also, cancellations have sky-rocketed since then because of said rules, so nobody wins.

Also, its not up to AA to bend the rules about PEDs, it’s a Federal Regulation. AA and its crew were only following what’s mandated by the FAA.

Take the bus or a train if you don’t like the airlines/FAA/TSA fees and antics. NO ONE forces you to fly!

Consumer Mike
Guest
Kyle, my friend, you are partly correct. No one “forces” you to fly, in the same way no one “forces you to get screwed banking with the Big Banks. If one cannot go to a credit union or community bank they have no choice. Realistically, if you must travel a long distance or over an ocean a traveler is stuck. Yes, most of the flying public and ALL the airlines know the rules of the road regarding the 3 hour limit. Yes, those of us that can read know about the penalties the airlines are charged. The passengers will never… Read more »
mgmonse
Member
I think Cranky has a great idea, and that the new AA management team should jump on this opportunity with both feet, and cleats–and i say that as an employee of a competitor. No matter how Baldwin or his supporters want to spin the original event, it still comes down to a couple of basic concepts that Baldwin and others have yet to grasp, mainly that if a F/A asks you to do something (as they follow their various company procedures and FAA regs), the passenger is expected to (dare I say it?) *COMPLY* with the request. It doesn’t matter… Read more »
Kilroy
Guest
I’m with Cranky here. This is the perfect set up for an SNL-style video from AA, something with the same tone that the “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” commercials from years back had. A senior executive appearing to be serious (like the Geico hair guy with the slicked hair, that kind of thing), but really just being funny. AA should declare itself Alec Baldwin free, down to the TV shows on the planes, and maybe give some buttons to the F/A’s that have the “no” circle and a picture of Alec’s mug. Heck, put up “Banned” posters behind the desks at… Read more »
Eric
Guest

It will be interesting to see if ’30Rock’ gets a (badly needed) ratings ratings bump. I cant help but thinking this is a manufactured controversy with AA being the patsy.

Wandering Justin
Guest

One person commenting on a different website suggested something else: That it’s a stunt Baldwin and AA orchestrated. The person said the company that makes the game he was so wrapped up in is about to go public.

Hmmm. I’d never heard of the game before this incident. No response from A/A. Makes you wonder …

Kyle
Guest

Cranky, its not about customer service or the flight attendant needing to attend ‘charm school.’ Alec Baldwin violated an FAR and he admitted it. I don’t blame the crew for being snippy, if they were. I am sure several announcements were probably made (which he ignored) and was then told face to face (ignored again). This wasn’t his first flight.

CP
Guest

Interesting idea, Cranky! Right now, Greyhound (which issued a press release about how Greyhound ain’t what it used to be, following Baldwin’s suggestion it was a class-less form of transportation) had had a more aggressive response than American.

Of course, AA has to deal with the irony that today its pilots were approved to use iPads (for flight manuals) in the cockpit, including during takeoff and landing.

BW
Guest

A guy pays you a couple bucks gas money to give him a ride to the store in your car. You live in a state where it’s illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in the car. The guy has a beer with him so before you leave you ask him to finish it. You pull out of the driveway and he pulls out another one and opens it. You ask him to get rid of it and he won’t.

Is it ok to kick him out of the car?

Linda
Guest

Alec taunting American Airways daily is just ridiculous. I really do hope they put him on a nationwide no-fly ban list, that would be hilarious!

Vinyl Sticksers
Guest
Hopefully the Union as well as American Airlines will ultimately be successful in keeping Baldwin, in all his forms, off their planes. As a private company they should be able to run their company in any manner they choose and let the marketplace be the deciding factor as to whether they’ve made the right decision or not. Why should they showcase, on their own aircraft, someone who is making money through his belligerence and rudeness toward them? There is plenty of dramatically higher-quality entertainment available for American Airlines to provide for its passengers. Baldwin’s “apology” to himself on a long-unfunny… Read more »
dis.co
Guest

IT was a publicity stunt for Words with Friends because Zynga is going public. I wonder how many shares he is getting.
Just like when that fat azs director of Mall Rats got kick off Southwest.. he had a movie coming out the next week.

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