A Southwest Airlines flight attendant was slugged in the face and head by an unhinged passenger knocking out two teeth over the weekend, according to a union leader.
Sacto-San Diego-Dallas-Miami ✈️ Can we go any further in the US? Just witnessed a woman punch a flight attendant. 😳 5 hr delay so far…but I don’t worry about what I can’t control & just enjoy the precious time w/Koki, our future hope! #PeacefulMind pic.twitter.com/NhmQAwSiPx
— Taro Arai (@MikuniTaro) May 23, 2021
The shocking incident took place on Sunday morning, after a flight from Sacramento landed in San Diego, according to a Southwest spokesman.
A female passenger “repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing,” the spokesman, Chris Mainz, said Tuesday.
Police were asked to meet the plane when it arrived in San Diego, and the passenger was taken into custody, Mainz said.
Video on Facebook showed police officers with the San Diego Port Authority escorting a woman in leopard-print leggings and a sweatshirt from the plane.
Susan Marie Stidham, who posted the clip, said the woman apparently became enraged when the flight attendant told her to keep her seatbelt fastened while the plane was still moving, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“What I saw was the flight attendant in the front suddenly start screaming ‘No, No, No! Stop!’, and running toward the back,” Stidham wrote. “The woman in the back was attacking the flight attendant, punching her in the head.”
“While the flight attendant was staggering back with a bloody face, we were all told to stay in our seats while they brought in police to remove the unruly passenger.”
San Diego Harbor Police on Tuesday identified the passenger as Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, and said she was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, a felony, local outlets reported.
She is now claiming self defense, which passengers and witnesses refute saying that Quinonez she was the aggressor not the flight attendant.
The flight attendant, who was not publicly identified, was treated at a hospital and later released. Southwest said it provided a flight for a friend to San Diego to be with her.
Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556 wrote a letter to the airline’s CEO explaining that the flight attendant was “seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth.”
In her letter to Southwest’s CEO Montgomery noted that this was one of hundreds of recent incidents involving unruly travelers.