Alaska Airlines Bans Republican From Flying Over Mask Refusal

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We are starting to see perks for taking our double (or single) dose of coronavirus vaccine. Waiting in the original long lines for the first shot turned into a quick passthrough for the second one. Not only are we getting protection from this terrible disease, we are seeing privileges crop up in pleasant opportunities long taken for granted before the coronavirus pandemic. Like this.

Health experts have begun to say vaccinated people can go maskless outside. We can meet with like-vaccinated friends again in small groups. And we can safely travel by plane. But one Alaska state representative has managed to get herself kicked off of one of her state’s most important and sometimes only airlines. Flying in Alaska has always been a challenge given the mountainous terrain and the tricky airstreams, so this woman may be seriously flight-challenged.

The airline company’s spokesperson Tim Thompson told The Anchorage Daily News that the airline has banned state Senator Lora Reinbold from flying. The reason? She has refused to follow mask requirements effective immediately:

‘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 Republican senator said that she was not aware of the ban and hoped to fly Alaska Airlines soon. Reinbold was in south-central Alaska over the weekend. The question of the day was how she planned to return to her legislative session on Monday in Juneau. It seemed that Alaska Airlines was the only airline servicing the area between Anchorage and Juneau. One alternative might be a ferry trip, but that would take several days.

Just last week, Reinbold was caught on video arguing with the Alaska Airlines staff at the Juneau International Airport. In the YouTube video, we saw the airline staff explaining that her mask must cover both her nose and mouth to actually work, NBC News Reported.

The senator told the Anchorage Daily News. that she was able to board the flight to Anchorage. She said that she was just asking:

‘[I was Asking about a] mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter. I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees.’

Reinbold has long opposed measures to contain the COVID-19 virus. And this was not the first time she has wrangled with Alaska Airline staff members. The airline instituted a mask policy even before the federal government mandated the policy in 2021.

After the airline staff asked the senator to wear a mask to get on the flight she wanted last year. In return, Reinbold referred to Alaska Airlines staff as “mask bullies.” Then backtracking, she sent some of the flight attendants a cake inscribed with:

‘I’m sorry if I offended you.’

That apology was better than an I’m-sorry-you-feel-that-way one, but it was still weak cake or no cake.

Thus far, Alaska Airlines has banned over 500 people. Thompson told the paper that the senator’s ban had to go through a review process before her right to travel with them could be reinstated

Reinbold could join her legislators for committee meetings via teleconference.  However, she would not be able to vote remotely, according to existing procedures.

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

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