Anti-Mask GOP State Senator Lora Reinbold Mocked for 19-Hour Road Trip After Airline Ban

Alaska Airlines banned GOP state senator Lora Reinbold from flying on Thursday after she refused to wear a mask above her nose, prompting her to complain about a lengthy road and ferry trip to the state capital to vote against an extension of COVID-19 pandemic rules.

On Thursday, Reinbold appeared in a video at Juneau International Airport, the state's capital city, challenging airport employees and at least one police officer after she refused to wear her mask above her nose. An Alaska Air employee could be heard telling the Eagle River lawmaker, "We need you to pull the mask up or I'm not going to let you on the flight." Reinbold was further mocked for the incident on Sunday after she posted a series of complaints and articles blasting the airlines, as well as science behind COVID-19 social distancing.

Reinbold said she made the trek to Juneau to "fight" H.B. 76, which extends state pandemic restrictions and public health emergency powers. She described the measure as "tyranny." Critics online immediately began mocking Reinbold on her Facebook page, "Need a ride to work tomorrow?" one asked.

The Alaska Department of Transportation website estimates the state ferry route and Marine Highway System trip from her hometown to Juneau would take about 19 hours to complete.

In a post on Monday, Reinbold said that she had developed "a new appreciation" for the state's ferry and road systems after she was forced to make the "long unexpected trip to Juneau" following her suspension from the state's primary airline. The Republican state lawmaker touted her status as an "MVP Gold" traveler.

On Monday, Reinbold claimed she was "reasonable" to airline employees during the incident.

"Alaska I went to new heights to serve you & have a new appreciation for the marine ferry system," Reinbold wrote on Facebook.

"I am keenly aware of the monopoly in air transport to Juneau that needs reviewed! Please thank my husband for giving up his birthday to make a long unexpected trip to Juneau by road/ferry system! Nothing could get in the way to be in the Capitol to fight to executive branch infringement on the legislature & defending your rights by trying to stop HB76 which is on the Senate floor tomorrow!"

In a Facebook post earlier this year, Reinbold blasted Alaska Airlines for enforcing the wearing of "worthless suffocating masks," calling it "mask tyranny," according to the Anchorage Daily News. The mask requirement is not the rule of Alaska Airlines, or any individual U.S.-based airline. A January federal government mandate requires travelers to wear facial coverings on planes, at airports, or on any other public transportation including trains. Only children under 2 years of age or with specific disabilities are exempt from the mask mandate.

Critics immediately mocked her on social media, with former Illinois GOP congressman Joe Walsh remarking, "It's called living with the consequences of your decision."

"The only other airline to offer flights from Anchorage to Juneau is (checks notes) no airline. Bwahahahahahahahaha," tweeted comedian Steve Hofstetter.

"I'm playing the world's tiniest violin for Senator Reinbold, and I'm wearing a mask while doing so," tweeted Jeff Tiedrich, a Twitter critic of former President Donald Trump.

Reinbold could be heard asking employees and a police officer for their names as she recorded their responses in the video taken at the airport on Thursday.

Since then, the state lawmaker has criticized the $25 billion in aid provided to airlines as part of Trump's stimulus package last year—$1 billion of which went to Alaska Airlines.

She has also accused Alaska Airline of releasing her personal information to the public and the news media without her consent.

"I believe this should be confidential. I learned about Ak Air decision before I knew there was even an inquiry and before I had a chance to talk to or discuss this with anyone at Alaska Air," she wrote on Facebook. "I never recieved a warning via a yellow card per their policy either. There was no due process before a temporary decision that is 'under review' was made public. Alaska Airlines sent information, including my name, to the media without my knowledge nor permission. I do believe constitutional rights are at risk under corporate covid policies."

Newsweek reached out to Reinbold's office as well as the airline for any additional remarks Monday evening.

lora reinbold alaska airlines mask
Alaska Airlines banned GOP state senator Lora Reinbold from flying last Thursday after she refused to wear a mask above her nose, prompting her to complain about a 19-hour weekend trip to the state capital via road and ferry in order to vote against an extension of COVID-19 pandemic rules. Screenshot: YouTube