Vyvianna Quinonez punches Southwest Airlines flight attendant and knocks out two teeth during confrontation. Incidence of increasing unruly passenger behavior.
Welcome to the unruly skies of the United States. Please fasten your seatbelts tightly … or else.
The airline said Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, repeatedly ignored instructions to put up her tray table and buckle her seat belt, only to then become verbally and physically abusive while the flight was still in the air — moments before landing.
Taro Arai, the owner of Sacramento restaurant Mikuni, was on the Sunday May 23 flight in which the ‘incident’ occurred and took some photos of the unfolding drama. According to CBS13 the passenger said he heard yelling, then saw the two shoving each other, and then the flight attendant getting punched in the face.
‘So, now she’s bleeding everywhere in the back looking at us and this lady who hit went back to her seat wore a mask — nothing happened seems like,’ he said. ‘I’m like huh, woah, I mean, she was so strong she could knock me out.’
Southwest Airlines union for flight attendants demand better protection of workers
Upon the plane landing, Quinonez was escorted off the airliner by officers and arrested and booked with felony battery causing serious bodily injury. The woman who hails from the Sacramento suburb of Antelope, was later released on a $35,000 bail.
The flight attendant who was seen with a bloodied face was wheeled off the flight in a wheelchair. Her present medical condition wasn’t immediately clear. The flight attendant was not identified.
Quinonez’s family has reportedly said neither she nor other family members were not yet ready to speak publicly about the ordeal FOX40 reported.
A union representing thousands of Southwest Airlines flight attendants is demanding the CEO take action to better protect the carrier’s crew from unruly and violent passengers. Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556, outlined some of the disruptive behavior in a letter to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly on Monday.
Increased trend of violence on board flights
‘This unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature,’ wrote Montgomery.
The weekend episode parallels an increasing trend of violence onboard flights, particularly with added new rules contending with the ongoing pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that airlines have reported 2,500 incidents of unruly passengers this year, including 1,900 cases in which passengers refused to wear face masks, which are required by federal rule. The FAA also announced it was seeking civil penalties totaling $54,500 against five passengers for behavior ranging from refusing to wear a mask to assaulting flight attendants.
The FAA has identified potential violations in 395 cases and initiated enforcement action in 30 cases.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on April 30 extended a federal face mask mandate on airplanes and in airports through Sept. 13.