Getting kicked off a commercial airline is rare, but it happens occasionally to celebrities and noncelebrities alike.
It occurs at the discretion of the flight captain, says Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Les Dorr. He says the FAA does not have statistics on how often this occurs, or on how often airplanes return to the terminal before takeoff.
The reasons can range from concerns that a person is intoxicated to the electronic-device issue. Air travel experts say that if passengers refuse to obey instructions regarding cellphones and other gadgets, safety is at risk.
The incident is arguably no big publicity win for Baldwin or for the airline, which recently filed to reorganize in bankruptcy. Baldwin took snide note of the fact, adding the tag "#nowonderamericaairisbankrupt" to his post on Twitter. (In later tweets, he talked about changing his allegiance to United, and saying the flight attendants "look ... smarter" on the flight American rebooked him on later Tuesday.
For his part, Baldwin earned his share of scowls, including from fellow passengers who were delayed because of his gaming habits.
By contrast, it's a public relations coup for Zynga With Friends, creator of the game Words With Friends. The game is in the news for, apparently, being too fun to stop, even when the voice of authority tries to intervene.
Baldwin joins a large cast of celebrities who have been kicked off airplanes.
Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was ousted for refusing to pull up saggy pants on a Southwest Airlines flight. Actor Josh Duhamel refused to turn off a BlackBerry device on US Airways. The list could go on.