It used to be baggage was something you took on an airplane. This week baggage was something Alec Baldwin got for being kicked off an airplane. The "30 Rock" star was ejected from an American Airlines plane for causing friction with a flight attendant about powering down his iPhone on which he was playing a popular word game. Adding jalapenos to the salsa, he later tweeted the airline recruited its flight attendants from the ranks of retired Catholic School gym teachers.
After hinting for years that he may want to run for political office, could the comedy actor's latest kerfuffle kick off his political career or permanently push him to the sidelines?
Many aviation experts allege that FAA rules for not using one's electronic devices at the gate is groundless. Compounded with beefed up security before boarding the plane, the public has a built-in resistance to the bazillion new rules enforced by the airlines. When a popular celebrity like Baldwin challenges the powers-that-be, he has the potential to become a folk hero.
In his apology to the other passengers, Baldwin wrote: "It's no secret that the level of service on US carriers 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. One of the big changes, in my time, is in the increase of the post-9/11, paramilitary bearing of much of the air travel business. September 11th was a horrific day in the airline industry, yet in the wake of that event, I believe carriers and airports have used that as an excuse to make the air travel experience as inelegant as possible."
Many people will relate to the frequent "Saturday Night Live" guest host's rant and could reward the rebel with political backing. This summer, Baldwin admitted to a reporter he has hopes of becoming a future mayor of New York City and has even looked into master's degree programs to better understand how government finance works.
If elected to office, the 53-year-old actor would likely favor the economic underdog over the fat wallet class to which he belongs. He testified for a financial reform bill in Congress last spring, arguing, "If cash is speech the person with the most cash speaks the loudest and that's the problem. It winds up giving some people a very unfair advantage."
Despite his public display of cojones, not everyone is buying Baldwin as an everyman. A popular retweet on Twitter derided the actor as a male diva, dubbing him "the Rosa Parks of fat white middle age celebrity millionaire First Class-cabin iPhone douchbags (sic)."
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- Alec Baldwin
- American Airlines