Way to Go, Alec Baldwin!

Alec Baldwin and I have almost nothing in common except for one thing: Utter disgust with American Airlines’ flight attendants.

I have accrued more than a million miles and have lifetime Million Mile status with AA. It used to be my favorite airline. However, I have flown them less and less in recent years due to their arrogant, “chip-on-their-shoulder” flight attendants. Until Friday of this week, I had not flown them a single time in 2011.

Coming back from our vacation Thursday, United cancelled our flight. About the only choice was American, so I said OK and was hoping for better things, especially in view of AA’s Chapter 11 earlier in the week. I happily Tweeted before boarding that there were two survivors of Pearl Harbor on AA Flight 72 and that the passengers game them a hearty round of applause.

To make a long story short, it was another awful experience. And, while the captain apologized to me (saying the FA’s were under “extreme pressure” because the flight was late), I’m back to doing everything I can to avoid AA. I simply do not have anywhere near the number of problems with other airlines’ flight attendants that I do AA’s.

Many jumped to the conclusion that Alec Baldwin was completely in the wrong and, perhaps, he didn’t turn off his phone as quickly as he should have. But, based on comments from Oscar De La Hoya who was seated near Balwin on the same flight and witnessed the incident, what likely occurred was one of AA’s rude flight attendants approached Baldwin the way they approached me and Baldwin reacted defensively.

So, it is with great pleasure I present AA’s “apology” to Alec Baldwin from last night’s Saturday Night Live:

Judging from their reaction, there were a lot of American Airlines’ customers in the audience.

P.S. While I am on the subject, I want take this occasion to thank the Continental Airlines’ FA’s on Flight 1 two weeks ago today. Both Kathleen and I thought they gave outstanding service with great attitudes.

UPDATE: Monday morning…  The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) also wants Baldwin’s hit TV show 30 Rock to be removed from the airline’s in-flight entertainment selection, the New York Daily News reported. 



6 thoughts on “Way to Go, Alec Baldwin!

  1. I lost most of my respect for AA when they screwed the TWA employees, took most of their pensions and didn't follow seniority when they laid off the FA's. They have no heart. And of course the FA"s who work in the front of the plane, and those who have the TPAC and TATL flights probably were flying when propellers were popular. I have no love for AA and won't fly them unless I absolutely have to.

  2. Mike, this is curious, because FA's are generally drawn from roughly the same socio-economic groupings, people with the same approximate traits and attitudes. Quite why some end up exhibiting calculated rudeness towards the paying passenger, who after all pays their salary, while others do not is difficult to understand. They must know what they are doing!

    While this suggests a failing of the management culture, it also suggests that there is a degree of short sighted stupidity amongst offending FA's, rather a sad conclusion I feel.

    BTW the good news is I have your book on my Christmas list, looking forward to reading it in the New Year. May your Christmas be a happy one, with 2012 better than it looks like being according to the economic pundits.

    Barry (UK reader).

  3. American Airlines, as we know it, pretty much ended with the retirement of Bob Crandall and long before current management so alienated the unions. BTW, AA was my employer for over 30 years and I long for the airline I once worked for. However, I believe that given the benefit of a doubt, my sympathy still lies with the FA's and not with Baldwin. The incident likely could have been avoided if Baldwin had simply shut off his phone at the time an announcement was made. It seems apparent he didn't do so. And another BTW. I am now in professional entertainment and have been since 1978. The word within the industry is Baldwin is a prima dona and causes problems just about everywhere he goes. Apparently flying AA brings out the worst in him. Still, he can follow the rules like the rest of us or if he doesn't want to, he surely has the money to charter his own aircraft. As for the state of AA inflight services, that's a different matter.

  4. Let me try this again without the typos: Thanks for the comment, Joel. I wasn't there. But, both De La Hoya and (per Al Roker) the person seated next to Baldwin said he did NOT raise his voice and was civil.

    I will state that I have zero problems with flight attendants of any other airline but I have so many problems with AA's that I have stopped flying them except in unusual circumstances.

  5. Mike, my only hope is that at some point in the near future, AA will return to normalcy and those employees who represent them will improve their attitudes. I certainly would look for little change, however, until the Chapter 11 dust settles. I do agree with you that there has been a noticeable degradation in their service levels but from a purely personal standpoint, I have never experienced it as a pass rider but I have observed it effceting other folks. I should also add that as a pass rider, an employee pretty much blends in with the traveling public unless he/she is riding in an empty first-class cabin. As an AA retiree, it hurts me to know that your experiences have been so negative and I can only hope that something happens to win back your loyalty. As you have already stated, you have a choice and it's apparent you have the ability to exercise it and I would do the same, given the events of the past.