Airline Bans Lawmaker Who Balked at Wearing Mask

Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold had called Alaska Airlines staffers 'mask bullies'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2021 7:59 AM CDT
Airline Bans Lawmaker Who Balked at Wearing Mask
Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold, an Eagle River Republican.   (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Alaska Airlines has banned an Alaska state senator for refusing to follow mask requirements, per the AP. “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 told the Anchorage Daily News. Last week, Reinbold was recorded in Juneau International Airport arguing with Alaska Airlines staff about mask policies. A video posted to social media appears to show airline staff telling Reinbold her mask must cover her nose and mouth. The GOP legislator told the newspaper that she had been inquiring about a “mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter."

“I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees,” she said, adding that she was able to board the flight to Anchorage. Reinbold has been a vocal opponent to COVID-19 mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines’ mask policy, which was enacted before the federal government's mandate this year. Last year, she referred to Alaska Airlines staff as “mask bullies” after being asked by flight attendants to wear a mask aboard a flight, the newspaper reported. After the incident, she reportedly sent a cake to some flight attendants bearing the inscription: “I’m sorry if I offended you.” Thompson said the length of Reinbold's ban will be determined by a review. It could affect her ability to fly to Juneau for this week's legislative session.

(Read more Alaska Airlines stories.)

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