It is unclear whether Baldwin was asked to stop playing the game and refused to turn off his mobile device, but in the event the Hollywood actor was removed from the plane.

Baldwin boarded a plane from Los Angeles to New York, revealed on Twitter: “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving.”

He then unleashed a torrent of derisive tweets about American Airlines, calling its flights attendants, “retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s”.

He went on to sing the praises of rival airline United, telling his 600,600 Twitter followers:

“United shud hav app onboard where u can play WWF w other passengers. American shud have app where u read the new testament w flt attendants.”

And: “Now, as I was kicked off this flight, the word I was playing was UNITED.”

Delighted with the free publicity, mobile game Words With Friends created a mock-up of the game board carrying the words: “Let Alec play.”

Asking passengers to turn off their mobile devices during take-off and landing is standard practice for airlines and it is not known whether Baldwin refused to comply with this.

American Airlines has said it has now launched a full investigation into the incident after the rest of the passengers were forced to return to the gate before being allowed to continue their journey with severe delays.

The incident was a trending topic on Twitter this morning with some calling it “ridiculous”.

Others were less sympathetic. “Alec Baldwin: the Rosa Parks of fat white middle age celebrity millionaire First Class-cabin iPhone douchbags,” read one tweet.

Words With Friends is an online Scrabble-hybrid in which players build crosswords either with a friend or matched against an opponent.