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Baldwin says sorry over plane delay

Alec Baldwin has issued an apology to fellow passengers on an American Airlines flight that was delayed by his refusal to stop playing a mobile phone game, but stopped short of apologising to the airline or the flight attendant he later mocked on Twitter.

The 30 Rock actor's note, posted to the Huffington Post, instead lamented the state of modern air travel. Baldwin noted the financial struggles of airlines, saying the result is that air travel has devolved into an inelegant experience, akin to riding a Greyhound bus.

Baldwin said the level of service on US carriers has deteriorated, adding: "Filthy planes, barely edible meals, cuts in jet service to less-traveled locations."

The actor writes that increased security on commercial planes after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks has resulted in a "paramilitary" aura around air travel.

Baldwin's letter is the latest volley in a dust-up with American Airlines, with the airline taking to social media on Wednesday to maintain it was following federal regulations when it booted an "extremely vocal customer" from a flight for refusing to turn off his mobile phone.

The airline, which earlier cited passenger privacy in declining to discuss the matter, said on its Facebook page it decided "to provide the actual facts of the matter" after Baldwin stated publicly he had gotten kicked off the flight. The company never cited the 30 Rock TV star by name.

Baldwin took to Twitter after Tuesday's incident at Los Angeles International Airport, saying he was asked to leave a New York-bound plane after a "flight attendant on American reamed me out" for playing a game on his mobile phone. Baldwin said he was playing the popular game Words With Friends while the plane sat at a gate.

American said on Facebook on Wednesday that Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that mobile phones and other electronic devices be turned off as soon as the airliner's door has been closed. The company said Baldwin refused to comply, adding that Baldwin was "extremely rude" to the flight crew, calling people "inappropriate names" and using offensive language.

Baldwin's spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, said it was the flight attendant who acted inappropriately. He said other people on the plane were violating the regulation and that Baldwin was singled out.

"The plane was already delayed half an hour at the gate when Alec was playing 'Words with Friends," Mr Hiltzik told The Associated Press. "Other passengers who tweeted flagrantly violated these rules without any repercussions - proving that they were obviously selectively enforced."

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