This airline dares to prohibit high-ranking state officials from entering the aircraft cabin. The reason is that the VIP passenger did not want to wear a mask.
Reported CNN, Alaska Airlines banned Alaska state lawmaker Lora Reinbold for continuing to refuse to comply with the mask-wearing mandate. The passenger even referred to the flight attendants as mask bullies.
Not only that, feeling he had the power, he dared to clash with airline employees. Finally, this rogue passenger was subject to a flight ban by Alaska Airlines because she continued to refuse to comply with the mask wearing policy.
Restrictions on Republican state senator Reinbold will complicate his job. This is because Alaska Airlines operates the only regular flight between its home, namely north of Anchorage and the state capital in Juneau.
The ban also means Reinbold on Sunday will have to drive more than 14 hours. For part of his journey, he had to pass through Canada and take a ferry to reach Juneau on Monday.
On that day he opposed a bill that would extend Governor Mike Dunleavy’s emergency policy during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am very aware of the monopoly on air transport to Juneau that needs to be revisited!” he said on Facebook late Sunday.
Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it had notified Reinbold of the decision.
“The suspension is effective immediately pending further review,” said Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson.
“Federal law requires all guests to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times during a flight, when getting on and off the plane, as well as when traveling through the airport,” he added.
Reinbold said he was fair with all Alaska Airlines employees in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
He felt the airline should keep the matter secret until further review.
“I asked about the exemption from wearing masks with employees who appear tense at the counter,” Reinbold said in the statement.
“I knew about the (Alaska Airlines) decision before I knew of an investigation and before I had a chance to talk or discuss this with anyone at Alaska Air,” he said.
Reinbold said he received no warnings under their policy. CNN has reached out to Reinbold for comment.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on Monday that it was investigating an incident involving a state lawmaker who Alaska Airlines said refused to wear a mask on its flight.
The FAA did not provide further details about the investigation. But it strictly enforces a zero-tolerance policy against passengers who cause disruption to flights or fail to comply with flight crew instructions.
Last month, the FAA pursued stricter enforcement of non-compliant passengers until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention withdrew the process. At that time, the agency had received more than 500 reports of mischievous passengers since December.
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(msl / fem)