Baldwin-American Airlines Fiasco Sparks FAA Debate
Alec Baldwin is back in the news again, and this time it has nothing to do with his tense relationship with his ex-wife Kim Bassinger or because he decided to berate his daughter again in a candid cell phone conversation. This time the 30 Rock celeb was booted off an American Airlines flight after he refused to turn off his phone. Apparently he was in the middle of playing the addictive game, “Words with Friends.”
OK, we’ll discuss the 2 sides to this story later, but for now, let’s get to a more important matter. Do we really need to turn off our iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices before the plane takes off or lands? I mean are we really harming anyone by wrapping up those last-minute phone calls or listening to the last verse of Adele’s “Someone Like You?”
Well, the FAA rules are clear. Everything must be turned off before the plane pushes back from the gate or prepares to land. Experts say high radio frequency signals are transmitted from video screens on portable devices. “There is a potential for these signals to cause interference to the (airplane) radio,” Boeing Technical Engineer Bruce Donham says. There’s no hard proof that radio frequency signals have ever causing in-flight problems or a crash, according to NBC News.
Experts say mobile technology is changing so quickly that there’s no way to know whether the next, new mobile device will pose a threat. Until they are tested, the FAA has no way of knowing; so I guess it’s better to keep these proactive measures in place. Hey, I’m OK with turning off my iPhone if it’s going to help prevent my plane from falling out of the sky unexpectedly. I’m just sayin’.
On their Facebook page, American Airlines reiterated the importance of turning off mobile devices, “Since an extremely vocal customer has publicly identified himself as being removed from an American Airlines flight on Tuesday, Dec. 6, we have elected to provide the actual facts of the matter as well as the FAA regulations which American, and all airlines, must enforce. Cell phones and electronic devices are allowed to be used while the aircraft is at the gate and the door is open for boarding.”
As I mentioned before, there are 2 sides to every story. So here we go. Baldwin claims a flight attendant singled him out demanded that he shut down his phone, even though the plane was still at the gate and not moving. Baldwin said “no,” and he was kicked off the flight. Baldwin did write a formal apology to the passengers on the flight, and tell his side of the story on Huffington Post.
On the other side of the aisle, American Airlines claims that Baldwin refused to turn off his phone, got up from his seat and headed into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. The flight crew claims that Baldwin used offensive language, calling some crew members inappropriate names. Airline officials say that’s why the leading actor was removed from the plane, delaying the plane’s takeoff by 45 minutes. Now, the Flight Attendants’ Union wants to ban Baldwin and his hit TV show, 30 Rock, from American Airlines.
So what do you think about this flight fiasco? Whose side are you on? Do you think the FAA rules on mobile devices should be changed? Tell us what you think. We want to know.