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.
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]