An Alaska Airlines state senator who “has sparred with Alaska Airlines employees over the mask policy” since January has been banned from the airline – although perhaps just for 30 days. It remains to be seen if a temporary suspension will be converted to a longer duration.
Lora Reinbold was recently fined $250 for refusing to properly wear a mask in the state capitol. On Thursday she was captured on video having a disagreement over keeping her mask above her nose at the Juneau airport before a flight to Anchorage. In a separate interaction not captured on film employees “said they felt threatened by her.”
— The Alaska Landmine (@alaskalandmine) April 22, 2021
According to Alaska Airlines,
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. This suspension is effective immediately pending further review. 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.
The state senator, in response, touts her elite status with the airline (MVP Gold) and says she has been “flying on Alaska Air for decades” (because, well, she lives in Alaska…) and says she “was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees.” However she says she “inquired about mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter.” Despite the ban she “hope[s] to be on an Alaska Airlines flight in the near future.”
On her Facebook page she complains that Alaska shouldn’t be commenting publicly on the matter, and that she should have been given a yellow card 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.”
While the federal transportation mask mandate may not be legal, Alaska’s own mask requirement predates that and there’s no dispute over the ability of an airline to require masks as a condition of transportation, subject to compliance with federal anti-discrimination rules.