Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, holds a news conference in front of the doors to the Senate chambers on Thursday, March 4, 2021.  Reinbold has been banned from Alaska Airlines flights for refusing to comply with the airline's mask [policy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Airline bans Reinbold for violating mask rules

Alaska Airlines has banned an Alaska state senator for refusing to follow mask requirements.

“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,” spokesman Tim Thompson told the Anchorage Daily News on Saturday, adding that the suspension was effective immediately.

Reinbold, a Republican of Eagle River, said she had not been notified of a ban and that she hoped to be on an Alaska Airlines flight in the near future.

Last week, Reinbold was recorded in Juneau International Airport arguing with Alaska Airlines staff about mask policies. A video posted to social media appears to show airline staff telling Reinbold her mask must cover her nose and mouth.

Reinbold told the newspaper that had been inquiring about a “mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter.”

“I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees,” she said, adding that she was able to board the flight to Anchorage.

Reinbold has been a vocal opponent to COVID-19 mitigation measures and has repeatedly objected to Alaska Airlines’ mask policy, which was enacted before the federal government’s mandate this year.

Last year, she referred to Alaska Airlines staff as “mask bullies” after being asked by flight attendants to wear a mask aboard a flight, the newspaper reported. After the incident, she reportedly sent a cake to some flight attendants bearing the inscription: “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

Alaska Airlines has banned over 500 people.

Thompson said the length of Reinbold’s ban will be determined by a review.

It wasn’t immediately known how Reinbold, who was in Southcentral Alaska this weekend, would be able to get to Juneau where the legislative session resumes Monday. No other airline has scheduled flights between Anchorage and Juneau, and a ferry trip could take several days.

Lawmakers can participate in committee meetings by teleconference but cannot vote on the House or Senate floor remotely under current procedures.

• This is an Associated Press report based on reporting by the Anchorage Daily News.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, May 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, May 16, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Students and staff play a kickball game on the field between the Marie Drake Building and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Friday afternoon. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
School district leaders debate biggest needs for extra $5.2M approved by Legislature, in hope governor won’t veto it

Staff for special education and gifted students, homeschooling, paying off city loan high on list.

Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, speaks Wednesday, May 8, on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
After several deadly drownings, Alaska Legislature votes to require harbor safety ladders

Bill by Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, passes on final day of session.

Members of the Thunder Mountain High School culinary arts team prepare their three-course meal during the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore on April 26-28. (Photo by Rebecca Giedosh-Ruge)
TMHS culinary arts team serves a meal of kings at national competition

Five students who won state competition bring Alaskan crab and salmon to “Top Chef”-style event.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, listens to discussion on the Senate floor on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
A look at some of the bills that failed to pass the Alaska Legislature this year

Parts of a long-term plan to bring state revenue and expenses into line again failed to advance.

Most Read