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Alaska GOP state senator banned from Alaska Airlines for refusing to follow coronavirus mask rules

Without being able to fly directly between Anchorage and Juneau, the senator traveled hundreds of miles on Alaska’s road and ferry system

This early Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, photo provided by R E Johnson shows an Alaska Airlines jet at Yakutat Airport in Yakutat, Alaska.
An Alaska Airlines jet is pictured at Yakutat Airport in Yakutat, Alaska, on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. An Alaska state senator has been banned from the airlines after, the airline said, she continuously chose to disobey mask-wearing rules.
R E Johnson via AP

An Alaska state senator has been banned from Alaska Airlines after she continuously chose to disobey mask-wearing rules, the airline said.

Republican Sen. Lora Reinbold of Eagle River (a community northeast of Anchorage) will no longer be allowed to fly on Alaska Airlines, which will make traveling from Anchorage to the state capitol in Juneau difficult. Alaska Airlines is the only airline with “regularly scheduled direct flights,” the Anchorage Daily News’ James Brooks reported.

  • “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,” Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson said by email to the Anchorage Daily News.
  • “This suspension is effective immediately, pending further review. Federal law requires all guests to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times during travel, including throughout the flight, during boarding and deplaning, and while traveling through an airport,” Thompson said, according the Alaska newspaper.

A video posted on social media last week showed the senator “in Juneau International Airport arguing with Alaska Airlines staff about mask policies,” according to NBC News.

  • In a video posted to Twitter by the Alaska Landmine, presumably of the same incident, shows Reinbold talking with Alaska Airline employees, a police officer and someone from the Transportation Security Administration.
  • An Alaska Airlines employees appears to stop Reinbold and instructs the senator to raise her mask above her nose.

“This is the latest incident involving Reinbold and Alaska Airlines. Last November, she compared its mask policy to tyranny in posts on her personal Facebook page. Flight crews approached her after someone complained Reinbold did not wear a mask. She said she took it off while she ate,” reported KTUU-TV — an Alaska news station.

According to a Facebook post from Reinbold this weekend, the senator traveled the hundreds of miles from Anchorage to Juneau using the state’s road and ferry system instead of flying direct, reported the Anchorage Daily News.

  • “I learned about Ak Air decision before I knew there was even an inquiry and before I had a chance to talk to or discuss this with anyone at Alaska Air. I never received a warning via a yellow card per their policy either,” Reinbold said in a Facebook post, reported KTUU.
  • The Anchorage Daily News reported, as of Friday, that Alaska Airlines had banned more than 500 people from flying with the airline.