Alaska Airlines Bans State Senator From Flights Over Mask Refusal

A State Senator has been banned from flying with Alaska Airlines after videos surfaced on social media of her arguing with employees about the airline’s mask policy. Senator Lora Reinbold is seen in videos arguing with Alaska Airlines staff. This is not the first time she has caused headlines arguing against current mask policies.

Alaska Airlines Bans State Senator From Flights Over Mask Refusal
After a video emerged online of her arguing with staff over the airline’s mask policy, Alaska Airlines has banned a State Senator. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines announced it had banned Republican Senator Reinbold in a statement shared with the Anchorage Daily News. The airline confirmed,

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.

The ban comes less than a week after videos began circulating on social media of Reinbold arguing with Alaska Airlines employees at Juneau airport. In the video, employees can be heard telling Reinbold that her mask must cover and mouth and nose as per the airline’s policy.

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Reinbold’s response

After the videos went viral and the airline announced the ban, Reinbold took to social media herself to comment on the situation. According to a post on her Facebook account, she was not refusing to wear a mask but talked to staff about an exemption. Alaska’s policy does not allow any exemptions. Reinbold has not stated why she should be exempt. However, she has been a vocal opponent to mask policies during the pandemic.

Reinbold continued to say that she should have been given a yellow-card warning as per company policy. Instead, she has been temporarily suspended from flying with the airline. She also commented that the ban should have been kept confidential until a review was underway.

Reinbold said she dealt with “uptight” staff and is interested in specific employees. She may bring up names in the review. In the video, Reinbold clearly uses her phone to record members of the Alaska team.

What’s next?

Despite the videos, Reinbold was allowed to board the flight. Although, it was likely her last Alaskan Airlines flight for a while. Although she claims she was reasonable, reports suggest she accused the airline of being “mask bullies” last year. Perhaps this is why she received a ban rather than just a warning.

Alaska Airlines Mask
Alaska Airlines has banned over 500 people for not wearing a mask properly while flying. Photo: Alaska Airlines

The length of her ban will be determined by a review. Reportedly, Alaska Airlines has banned over 500 people for refusing to abide by the current mask policy. It has been fairly strict from the beginning, with many bans in place for the duration of the pandemic. Reinbold will likely be banned until the policy is rescinded.

Until she is allowed back on Alaska Airlines, she will have to commute to Juneau by car and ferry. Only Alaska Airlines operates a daily flight from Anchorage, near her home in Eagle River. The 90-minute flight makes commuting to Juneau fairly easy. However, with the ban in place, Reinbold will need to drive and then take a ferry which will take over a day.

What do you think of the situation? Should Alaska Airlines have given an official warning? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.