Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold (R) had no choice but to drive for more than 13 hours and then take a ferry on Sunday to get to the state’s legislature in Juneau after Alaska Airlines banned her for flouting its mask requirement.
“Alaska I went to new heights to serve you & have a new appreciation for the marine ferry system,” Reinbold wrote in a Facebook post with photos and a video of her ride. “I am keenly aware of the monopoly in air transport to Juneau that needs reviewed!”
The lawmaker thanked her husband “for giving up his birthday to make a long unexpected trip” with her to the city.
Alaska Airlines told the Anchorage Daily News on Saturday that Reinbold “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,” Tim Thompson, the airline’s spokesperson, said. “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.”
Unfortunately for Reinbold, Alaska Airlines is the only flight company that offers regularly scheduled trips from Anchorage to Juneau, according to the Daily News. It is unclear what route exactly Reinbold took. The Republican would have had to drive hundreds of miles on Sunday to reach the ports in Skagway or Haines, where the ferry to Juneau leaves. She also likely had to drive through part of Canada to get there, as the Daily News noted.
Reinbold claimed in a Facebook post on Saturday that she was “reasonable” with “all Alaska Airlines employees” and decried the airline for talking to the media about the suspension.
“I inquired about mask exemption with uptight employees at the counter,” she wrote.
The lawmaker has accused Alaska Airlines in the past of being “part of mask tyranny” and its employees of being “mask bullies,” per the Daily News’ screenshot of a screed she posted on Facebook last year.
“I honestly hope they get sued for being ridiculous!” Reinbold wrote.
This isn’t the first time she’s faced consequences for refusing to wear a mask; the Republican was banned from most of the Capitol in March after ignoring the legislature’s rules on masks along with temperature screenings and rapid tests.
Additionally, the GOP-controlled Senate voted to strip her of her chairmanship of the chamber’s Judiciary Committee last week.