An Alaska state senator is learning the hard way what happens when you get banned from the only quick mode of transportation between your home and work.
State Sen. Lora Reinbold (R) is a coronavirus vaccine skeptic and critic of COVID-19 public health policy, CNN reports, and often argued with Alaska Airlines employees over mask requirements. She has called flight attendants who asked her to wear a face covering “mask bullies,” and had a cake made that read, “AK Airlines flight attendants, I’m sorry if I offended you.”
Alaska Airlines announced over the weekend that because of Reinbold’s “continued refusal to comply” with its mask requirements, she is now banned from the carrier. The problem for Reinbold is, Alaska is the only airline that operates regular flights between her home north of Anchorage and Juneau, the state capital.
On Sunday, Reinbold had a lot of time to reflect on what happened, as she started the 14-hour drive from her house to Juneau. Part of the trek included driving through Canada and having to take a ferry, with Reinbold racing to make it in time to vote in opposition of extending Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) emergency powers during the pandemic. Reinbold tried to spin this in her favor, declaring on Facebook that she is going to “new heights” to serve the people of Alaska.
In a statement, Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson told CNN that 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.” Reinbold released her own statement, saying she had been “reasonable” while dealing with “uptight employees at the counter,” and she wished Alaska Airlines had kept the matter private.