The FAA Is Rubbing Alec Baldwin's Face In It

Thrown off a plane. Subject to a proposed boycott. And now this, a final humiliating insult to Alec Baldwin, for playing an iOS app when he shouldn't have: The Federal Aviation Administration says the actor's airline nemeses can use iPads in flight, even while prohibiting Baldwin from doing the same thing.

Baldwin was, you'll recall, ejected from an American Airlines flight the other day for playing Words with Friends on his iPhone, even though he'd been warned that doing so was against the rules. Indeed, silly FAA regulations prohibit using personal electronic devices after aircraft doors are closed, before reaching altitude, even when the plane is just waiting at the gate.

But wait! There's a new exception to those rules: You can use a Words-with-Friends-enabled personal electronic device after the cabin doors are closed, if you work for American Airlines. Says ZDNet:

On Friday, American Airlines is the first airline in the world to be fully FAA approved to use iPads during all phases of flight. Pilots will use iPads as electronic chart and digital flight manual readers... By using electronic charts and manuals, the safety and efficiency on the flight deck is significantly enhanced.

This makes permanent an earlier test program that introduced iPads into American Airlines cockpits and allowed their use at all times.

It also gives us a nice preview of Baldwin's next air rage incident: iPhone obediently tucked into his suit coat and powered down, the burly actor, from his seat in first class, catches a glimpse into the cockpit. He hears the unmistakable sound of fingers on glass, a commotion right out of a sports bar, laughter, and then the gleam of not one but two iPads. "Quiche!" shouts the co-pilot. "On a TL tile!"

Then comes a loud swear, the heavy fall of Florsheim shoes stomping angrily across the cabin, and the impossibly loud slam of a flimsy 767 bathroom door. Somewhere, an FAA bureaucrat smiles. And from the cabin, a crew member switches over to the Twitter app, and begins poking out a quick direct message to @TMZ.