A GOP anti-masker got banned from planes, so she had to take a boat to work

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 24: An Alaska Airlines ad is seen during a PAC12 conference college basketball...
Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Originally Published: 

Here is how Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold describes her political philosophy on her official Alaska Senate profile page:

As a Republican I believe in smaller government, and an economy based on free market principles. Government should be prioritized to the core functions of public safety, education, and infrastructure.

Given her proclamation in support of free market principles, and the "core functions" of government being both public safety and education, I'm curious how Reinbold squares the circle of her own recent behavior, in which the free market has decided that she should be effectively grounded for violating a matter of public safety in her home state.

Here's what happened: This weekend Alaska Airlines announced it had banned Reinbold from its flights, for her continued refusal to simply wear a lightweight face mask while traveling in an enclosed space with recycled air, surrounded by other people, in the middle of a global pandemic.

"We have notified Sen. 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," Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson told the Anchorage Daily News in an emailed statement.

"This suspension is effective immediately, pending further review," Thompson continued. "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 "immediate" nature of the suspension could pose something of a problem for the lawmaker. Deprived of the only airline that offers regular flights between Juneau and Anchorage, Reinbold has since found "a new appreciation for the marine ferry system," writing on Facebook that she and her husband had to "make a long unexpected trip to Juneau by road/ferry system" to make it by Monday, when the state Senate is set to resume. According to the Anchorage Daily News: "To reach a port serviced by a ferry to Juneau on Sunday, she would’ve had to drive hundreds of miles from Eagle River to either Skagway or Haines, which also would require going through part of Canada."

Last year, Reinbold was confronted on an Alaska Airline flight for — you guessed it — not wearing a mask, prompting an extremely dignified, well-measured social media post from the elected official. In it, Reinbold decried "mask bullies" and "a scaredy cat Karen [who] whined loudly and was a tattle tail when I took my dumb worthless suffocating mask off, a bit longer than she wanted, for my food and drink."

In fact, it's not just Alaska Airlines that's fed up with Reinbold's anti-mask, coronavirus conspiracy-mongering. Alaska's governor and Reinbold's fellow Republican Mike Dunleavy has been equally annoyed with the Eagle River legislator, calling her history of coronavirus denial a "mockery of a charade, disguised as public purpose."