Alaska Airlines has banned state Sen. Lora Reinbold (R) due to her refusal to comply with its COVID-19 mask-wearing mandate.
The company announced its decision to the Anchorage Daily News. “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,” a spokesman said in a statement.
The ban follows the release of a video that appeared on Twitter last week, reportedly showing Reinbold in an argument with Juneau International Airport security over its mask mandate.
In the video, an airport worker is heard telling Reinbold that she needs to wear her mask covering both her mouth and nose if she wants to get on the plane. Earlier, the Republican lawmaker asks for and takes down the names of employees she is interacting with, as well as the name and badge number of a police officer involved.
Whoa! A source just sent this video of Sen. Reinbold at the Juneau airport. She was refusing to wear the mask and the police got involved! She’s also filming @AlaskaAir employees and asking for their names. Hyper loose. A second video is below. #akleg pic.twitter.com/EfaoSU3K9k
— The Alaska Landmine (@alaskalandmine) April 22, 2021
“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 recieved [sic] a warning via a yellow card per their policy either. There was no due process before a temporary decision that is ‘under review’ was made public. Alaska Airlines sent information, including my name, to the media without my knowledge nor permission,” Reinbold wrote in response to the ban on Facebook. “ … I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees. I have been flying on Alaska Air for decades amd [sic] am an MVP gold. I inquired about mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter.”
The ban could add difficulties to Reinbold’s commute from Eagle River to the state capital of Juneau as it is only accessible by plane or boat. Alaska Airlines is the only company that provides direct flights between the two.
This isn’t the first time Reinbold has faced off in opposition of mask mandates. She was temporarily suspended from entering some Alaskan Senate buildings in March for failing to comply with mask mandates and the required rapid coronavirus test upon entrance.
Last week, she was removed from her position as chairwoman of the Senate’s judiciary committee. Senate President Peter Micciche, a Republican, defended the decision, stating it was “entirely based on decorum and the mutual respect that’s expected as we operate in this building.”
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