Alaska Senator Can’t Vote On Legislation Because She’s Been Banned From Flying Over Masks

In April, anti-mask Alaska state senator Lora Reinbold – who had been fined for reusing to properly wear a mask in the state capitol – was banned from Alaska Airlines after she refused to keep her mask above her nose and employees claimed to feel threated by her in the altercation that ensued.

Reinbold admits she “inquired about mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter.” And on her Facebook page she complained she deserved a warning rather than a ban. And she believes her “constitutional rights” (which protect people from the government of which she is part) “are at risk under corporate covid policies.”

Not being able to fly Alaska Airlines is a very big deal if you’re an Alaskan legislator since you need to get to the state capitol, Juneau.

In fact, Ms. Reinbold is asking to be excused from showing up to do her job for the next four months, and having to vote on legislation, because she won’t be able to fly to the capitol and back.

She’s traveled to Anchorage and then flown Delta to Seattle and then to Juneau, but Delta’s Juneau service is seasonal. Alaska will become her only flight option, but it’s not an option for her.

Earlier this year, Reinbold drove through Canada, then took an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry to Juneau. No hard-surface roads connect Juneau to the North American road network.

“Driving through Canada is a long haul and complicated and restrictive process,” she said Thursday.

Ferries also cross the Gulf of Alaska between Whittier and Juneau twice per month. Federal rules require mask-wearing aboard ferries and other public transportation.

Isn’t it the citizens she represents, though, that are being abandoned by their Senator’s request not to have to be part of deliberations? And if she’s unable to represent them, shouldn’t she resign?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Don’t given Biden any ideas.
    Dissenters of his regime may soon find themselves in the same predicament banned from entering government buildings or flying due to “safety reasons”. (It’s always for our safety, right?)

  2. @ Jerry — I am not afraid of anyone. She is banned from flying Alaska, which is a privilege NOT a right. Since she chose to not follow their rules, she can fly private. That’s how the world works. Too bad for her.

  3. The right wing in this country are like belligerent spoiled children.. “Boo-hoo, I don’t want to and you can’t make me”. Sorry, but selfish children can and should be forced to do what is right.

  4. @Jerry: am I missing something? Why did you jump to @Gene being afraid of others based on his comment? His comment was legit. She does have the option to fly private and Gary didn’t bring it up. I guess I miss your point.

  5. @ Gary — The childish response from FoxNews et al proves that Biden is finally doing the right thing.

  6. Observations from a non-partisan:

    – A higher percentage of blue voters are vaccinated

    – A lower percentage of red voters are vaccinated

    – If infection rates increase and given statistics, more red voters than blue voters would die

    – If more red voters were to die, the populace would become more blue

    – If mask mandate were dropped, then infection rates would increase

    – If a blue leader were motivated by a desire to increase blue political power, then the blue leader would want to drop the mask mandate

    – Strangely, dropping the mask mandate is exactly what red voters want (the Darwin effect)

    Dropping the mask mandate seems like a win-win for both blue and red.

  7. Reno Joe,
    let us know what party is on death certificates show for each party and your theory of Darwinism might be true.
    You can’t because the data doesn’t exist and even if did there are a large number of people in the US’ death counts that are not registered voters – and I certainly hope you can figure out why that is the case

  8. Getting vaccinated is a choice. Living without vaccination is not a choice, its a default position.
    Choices have consequences. Why should the rights of people to exist as we were created in nature be less than the rights of someone who chooses to be vaccinated?

  9. @ Tim — Um, because not everyone registers to vote? Any more easy questions you need answered today?

  10. US vaccinated rate is ~75%. Lots of unvaccinated have already had covid. So the number supposedly protected by previous infection/vaccine is much higher. Herd immunity? Nope. I guess vaccines don’t work. if vaccines don’t work, then masks certainly don’t work. Fortunately, 99.97% survival rate. Biden is harder on unvaccinated than he is on the Taliban.

  11. Ignorant Government Rep, thinking asking peoples name is some how going to make others cowl in fear if her. Disgraceful. Stay home.

  12. @Gene: completely agree. Even if you just start with his opening comment, only 65% have had one dose and 54% have had two. From there his assumptions go off the charts. But he feels good about it so let him puff his chest.

  13. Gene and Ray – I’m going to jump in and defend folks like rjb. Math is hard. Facebook University has only been helping him with memes. Not math.

  14. @Bratty: where do I send the dry cleaning bill for the coffee blown out my nose? You can’t do that this early.

  15. The following is offered in the friendly manner.

    Tim, red states have a higher COVID death rate than blue states. But, of course, I don’t advocate such a blue policy. It was offered tongue in cheek.

    Jerry, we exchange certain natural rights for the protections of society. In support of this concept are recommended readings from the conservative library (and not the leftist library):

    – Seneca, Letters From a Stoic
    – John Locke, Two Treatises on Government
    – Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
    – Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
    – John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    It is well-settled in the law that the government can require (for example) children to have certain vaccinations to attend school. Children who are not vaccinated are denied the ability to attend school.

    Congress has the power to regulate inter-state commerce. As such, the Federal government can impose a regulation that restricts modes of public inter-state travel to only those staff and passengers who wear masks. Passengers who do not wear masks are denied the ability to use these modes of travel.

    We don’t have to like it but that’s the law. And, arguments of “one state in nature” fly in the face of hundreds of years of conservative philosophy that holds personal freedoms dear but nonetheless accepts the exchange of certain natural rights for the protections of society.

  16. Condescension and disdain for others not like them out in full force amongst the lemmings. Hope they don’t raise their kids as bad as their parents raised them.

  17. @Reno Joe,
    Points well accepted. The school vaccine case hasn’t been that well litigated due to kids getting vaccines for diseases that will actually kill or cripple them and not for a disease that is basically equivalent to the common cold or flu in kids, but that’s a different argument. But there are also numerous amendments in the constitution granting civil rights to people who originally didn’t have them. I think most people agree discrimination against the ability to participate in society and thrive is wrong, especially on the basis of how we were created (sex, race) and choose to live the basic foundations of our life (religion, sexual orientation). We were created without the vaccine, but with an amazing immune system that saves 99% of us if we get Covid. And now we even have the CHOICE to even be better protected and have basically NO chance of dying even if we come into contact with a heavily infected non vaccinated person through a vaccine. So no, I don’t think we should discriminate against people who choose to exist as nature intended.

  18. Gene and Reno Joe,
    As much as you want to try to reduce success in controlling covid to politics, the obvious answer is about border control.
    The reason why Texas is seeing such a massively higher death rate than other states is because Texas has the US’ longest foreign border. There is abundant evidence that the number of people coming into the US illegally is at all time highs. There are democratically run border cities and counties in Texas that are saying the number of covid cases has skyrocketed.
    The reason why Canada has much lower case and death counts than the US is the same reason why Australia and New Zealand have seen virtually no deaths in comparison – because they did a hard lock on their borders. The same applies to lower case rates in Alaska and Hawaii.
    The US could have licked the pandemic months ago if the borders were secured but they were not. It is hard to argue that the higher case and death counts in NY and NJ are due to them having major global airports and then not recognizing the same problem exists in the South right now. Florida is the number one destination for illegal immigrants that do not stay in Texas.
    Canada, Australia and NZ all had much lower rates of vaccination than the US for much of the pandemic and their case counts haven’t gone up near as much as the US has – every time a new wave strikes.

    I would very much like for politics and covid management to not be mixed but they clearly are. When the President is serious about dealing w/ the pandemic first and close all sources of infection, then we can lay the blame where it belongs.

    When the Administration takes out their frustration on unvaccinated Americans because they can’t get covid under control despite being certain they could, then it is certain that their poll numbers will continue to fall, even regarding covid management.

  19. @Reno Joe

    Taking your comments one step further, I equate the anti-maskers and the anti-vaxers as equivalent to ISIS suicide bombers. Willing to die for their cause… and take innocent parties with them.

  20. “Getting vaccinated is a choice. Living without vaccination is not a choice, its a default position.
    Choices have consequences. ”

    @Jerry

    I agree fully. We are all going to die some day. No vaccination and no mask just raises your chances of getting there sooner. Its really not that complicated.

  21. If the rules are wear a mask, then you dont have to like it, just do it. For her this becomes a complete nightmare getting around Alaska. Even flying to Seattle and doing all of that is a big hassle. And fo all the Constitional experts out there, no its not against your Constitional rights.

  22. Gene,
    it is precisely because of people like you that we can’t solve problems. We unfortunately have people like you in positions of leadership in Washington.
    We were promised 15 days to flatten the curve, then months of lockdowns, then vaccines, and now mandatory steps – and no assurance that any of its will work because one of the major sources of the problem is not being addressed.

    If lockdowns and vaccination strategies worked, then explain why California’s death rate is far higher than most other “developed” countries that have implemented the high vaccination strategies that are being pushed on the rest of America? CA’s death rate might be marginally better than Texas or Florida but they also have a major international border and there is ample evidence that their hospitals have many unvaccinated, undocumented workers.

    When the Administration is serious about addressing ALL of the pandemic, then he will win over everyone but taking his frustration for his failures on unvaccinated Americans won’t work.

    And, since you are so quick to blame the South, explain to us how the South got infected when the virus appeared first on the west coast and in the NE states? Of course because people carried that vaccine from those states to the rest of the country.

    Your inability to see problems holistically rather than through your narrow worldview is not just sad but frightening.

    Pete,
    when people like you make statements that you have, you clearly have no confidence in the vaccine which presumably you (and I) have taken. They can’t be suicide bombers if you have a strong defense and warning they are coming.
    Are you defenseless or defended, in which case the unvaccinated are really not a threat to you?

  23. Comment from an Alaskan:
    She’s a known crackpot. She honestly thinks it’s more comfortable to wear that stupid shield strapped around her head than a scrap of cloth.
    I’m glad Alaska Airlines banned her. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
    And she’s STUPID, folks.
    More interested in showboating than legislating.

  24. There needs to reciprocity between airlines. If you’re banned by Alaska, you should be banned from Delta too.

  25. “WileyDog” it is the left who are spoiled and whose response is to get one fired, publicly shunned or humiliated and jailed if possible that does not agree with their position(s). Very similar to what you see in China and other totalitarian societies. But I guess people such as yourself and the other Lemmings posting here are comfortable with the Government running your lives. You have no soul.

  26. @TIm

    What you are likely ignoring is that a large number of unvaccinated people are in fact acting as petri dishes for the evolution of more variants of the virus, some of which could well be more deadly for both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. This is how we got the Delta variant and others less well known variants.

    Most of today’s anti-vaxers are very likely already vaccinated against polio and smallpox, whether they know it or not. The general population would be much smaller today if that was not the case.

    I sincerely hope the current anti-vax hysteria ends soon.

  27. Pete,
    I have repeatedly said that I support vaccination which I have done. There is a risk when large portions of the population remain unvaccinated.
    The Delta variant has been traced to India, not the United States.
    Brazil and S. Africa spawned variants due to the high case rates there.

    But you cannot ignore the impact that untested, ill people coming into the US are having on covid rates in the US, esp. southern states.

    And while you and others argue, you might want to note that the US government itself has stopped Afghan refugee resettlement flights from Europe to the US due to unspecific health concerns.

    Mass movements of people spread disease. That is not debatable. You cannot argue that people going to Florida from other states are a risk than immigrants coming across our borders.

  28. @Cmorgan, it does not matter whether you are left or right — the virus does not discriminate. Rightwingers like you who refuse to vaccinate and wear masks are self-centred louts who endanger the rest of society. In the old days people like you were packed off to asylums, as in lepers, the better to protect everyone. And why are you bringing in China? Does that not undermine your thesis? China may not allow you to surf porn but it sure as hell as been successful in shutting down the virus. What’s more important to you?

  29. My guess is that no one in this thread has had a family member or friend die of COVID.

    Let’s say someone who was a school teacher, in her 40s, in a state whose governor mandated that schools shall not require masks, at a school that had a second teacher die of COVID a week later, and at a school that subsequently tested students and found over 16 percent were COVID positive.

    Do you suppose her kids particularly care about anything other than their mom is gone?

    Some of you speaking as Stalin did: The death one person is a tragedy — the death of 100,000 people is a statistic.

    Wait until it hits your family.

  30. Love this. Take care Rep. Lora Reinbold. Best of luck I am sorry you find your tinfoil hat easier to wear than a mask.

  31. You would be wrong, Reno Joe.
    some of us can suffer loss and still focus on what is proven and not bow to emotion and politics.
    It is beyond foolish for people to reduce covid to politics.
    It is reality that politics is keeping some people from taking all of the appropriate steps to manage the disease rather than blame someone else.

  32. @ Tim — “It is beyond foolish for people to reduce covid to politics.” Then why are you doing it? Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that we have multiple very effective, free, easily-accessible COVID vaccines that will benefit everyone if everyone who is medically able gets vaccinated? Should you be able to build a pollution-spewing factory in your backyard or cremate and bury dead people in your front yard? Is someone infringing on your rights because you have to follow some basic societal rules? Get over it, already.

  33. Gene
    why can’t you understand that border control IS part of disease control? When it is clear that “island entities” such as Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and Hawaii all have MUCH lower disease counts than entities around them, it is impossible for anyone that is truly interested in solving the problem to believe that the US government can keep the southern border wide open and expect to overcome covid.
    I AM pro vaccine, have done it myself, and have repeatedly said that anyone that can be vaccinated should get one. You would have to be blind not to know that because I have said it over and over and over again.

    But I am also capable of seeing problems as more than political talking points, which you clearly cannot do.

    and again, tell me why you are so afraid of the unvaccinated if you really believe vaccines work? What you spew is logically OPPOSITE of being convinced that everyone should get vaccines.

    oh, and back to the Alaska senator, I do agree with Gary that she should resign if she cannot perform her duties because of being barred from Alaska. Or she should set up shop in Juneau if she doesn’t want to rent a private plane every time the legislature is in session.

  34. Tim, please help me understand. What do you believe is the solution? I ask sincerely.

    Separately, I’m sorry for your loss. Who was the family member or friend whom you lost to COVID?

  35. Reno Joe,
    I’m not sure how you have missed it.
    1. Close the borders for 30 days- all of them. Mandate testing on US soil at the port of entry for all international arrivals. We can’t trust testing from other countries and false documentation – even for US citizens.
    2. Offer vaccines to those whose doctor’s recommend it. If someone legitimately presents a medical or religious objection, move on.
    3. Prove that the steps that are being imposed – including masks – make a difference. And that proof needs to include comparisons of natural (disease acquired) immunity vs. vaccine immunity. When Fauci was on TV just today – 18 months after this thing started – how can the US government not know how effective natural immunity is 18 months after the pandemic started?
    4. Deny social services and impose financial penalties on those that refuse to get vaccinated but cannot prove a legitimate reason including a verifiable religious exemption and those religious organizations need to prove that they have strongly encouraged no vaccines for an extended period of time – not just since covid. Gary said months ago when the federal aid was being passed out that it should be tied to getting vaccinated. It was not but that should have been done.
    5. Vaccines do work for the vast majority of people. They aren’t necessary for some classes of citizens including most children or even adolescents because they have an extraordinarily low risk of getting seriously ill and the vaccine does not stop transmission.

    And, finally, get to the bottom of what the US under Fauci’s watch did to fund virus research that involved the Chinese or Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    The most RECENT loss was my neighbor. She was not vaccinated and passed away. He was less healthy but had been vaccinated and survived. I spend every day helping the son and DIL with the task of emptying the house and mourning her loss.
    This is not an academic discussion for me.

  36. Tim,

    You offer good points.

    How do we determine whether an asserted religious exemption is legitimate?

    What if a person is not a member of an organized religion?

    If we require a religious organization to have a long-standing position, are we saying that a religion cannot reconsider an issue in light of changed circumstances? Are we now restricting beliefs?

    Many will find a way to claim an exemption and COVID will continue to spread.

    In either case, you should forward your thoughts to those with the power to do something with them. I’m not certain that the readers of this blog have such power.

    Best of luck.

  37. @Tim Dunn:

    Please support your argument of those crossing the border have some higher level of covid cases. You have zero proof outside of a Fox News argument. California still has high levels because of the idiot Republicans that live there. People love to generalize that California is 100% to the Left, well I hate to break it to you but the Central Valley and Orange County to the border is full of idiots that watch Fox News, stand at Chick-fil-A when gay marriage is on the ballot, spew that AR-16’s are needed for hunting, and on and on. California has the crazy right in big numbers, that is why you see a recall election going on. So please support your argument. I can agree with much of what you say but once you go on the Jackass Waterson rants, you lose your voice.

  38. On the anniversary of 9/11, you would have to be a fool to not recognize the power of borders and what happens when they are not in place and properly vetted.

    You clearly aren’t interested in the truth or solutions but would rather engage in political mudslinging.

    Countries that have managed to secure their borders have much lower covid case rates than the US even w/ lower rates of vaccinations.

    Alaska has done a better job than most of the Continental US because of its isolation. To believe otherwise is simply not logically defensible.

    History will show where failures occurred in getting covid resolved sooner just as it did that 9/11 was the result of systemic failures at the government level. The era of constantly blaming others will come to an end and people will be held accountable for their wrong decisions.

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