More of this, please:
Alaska Airlines said Saturday that it has banned state Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, from its flights for continuing to refuse to follow mask-wearing requirements for travelers.
No other airline has scheduled flights between Anchorage and Juneau, and Reinbold is now in Southcentral Alaska. A trip by sea and land could take several days: Juneau has no overland road access, and some kind of ferry trip would be required.
“We have notified Senator Lora Reinbold that she is not permitted to fly with us for her continued refusal to comply with employee instruction regarding the current mask policy,” spokesman Tim Thompson said by email.
Reinbold has been vocal in her objections to COVID-19 mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines’ mask policy, which was enacted in 2020 before the federal government began requiring masks aboard aircraft and public transportation earlier this year.
Last year, she referred to airline staff as “mask bullies” and the airline itself as “part of mask tyranny” after being asked by Alaska Airlines flight attendants to wear a mask aboard a flight. After the incident, she sent a cake to some airline flight attendants. The cake bore an inscription saying, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
The airline’s ban comes after an incident this week at Juneau International Airport in which Reinbold was recorded apparently arguing with airport and Alaska Airlines staff about the mask policies.
Not surprisingly, she is shocked to learn that the rules apply to her.
Reinbold addressed the situation in a text message.
“I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees,” she said. “I have been flying on Alaska Air for decades and am an MVP Gold (frequent flyer). I inquired about mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter.”
She said the timing of the complaint “and a specific employee” is of keen interest.
“I have been assured this (will) be looked into,” she said.