Who is Vyvianna Quinonez? Passenger knocks Southwest attendant's teeth out
Authorities have reportedly charged Vyviana Quinonez with felony battery causing serious bodily injury
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: A woman who allegedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, knocking her teeth out, has been arrested and charged with felony battery. The incident reportedly took place on Sunday, May 23, on a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego.
Mikuni sushi chef and owner Kotaro Arai witnessed the violent dispute aboard the Southwest flight. “In the beginning, they were not arguing. They were just like ‘do this, don’t do that, don’t do this, don’t do that.’ Then even the flight attendant said, ‘Don’t touch me,’” Arai said.
Who is Vyvianna Quinonez?
The 28-year-old passenger allegedly grew irate when she was told to buckle her seatbelt during the flight. Subsequently, she punched the Southwest flight attendant in the face. Quinonez was escorted off the flight by Port of San Diego Harbor Police. The flight attendant who was seen with a bloodied face was wheeled off the flight in a wheelchair.
As per reports, the flight attendant lost two teeth and suffered other injuries to her face, and was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital. She was later released from the hospital and Southwest flew a friend to San Diego to be with her.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines said the passenger “repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions” and became “verbally and physically abusive” as Flight 700 from Sacramento landed at San Diego International Airport.
Authorities have reportedly charged Quinonez with felony battery causing serious bodily injury. While Quinonez, who hails from the Sacramento suburb of Antelope, was initially booked into the Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee, California, she was later released on a $35,000 bail.
San Diego resident Michelle Manner, who recorded the video of the altercation, said that the flight attendant provoked the incident. “Vyvianna had said to her three times that we could hear ‘get off of me,’ ‘quit touching me,’ ‘get your hands off of me,” Manner said.
She added that she was not able to record the first confrontation, which she said included the flight attendant telling Quinonez to put on her face mask after it may have fallen below her nose. “It was so unnecessary,” Manner said. “In the first altercation, she had said she was going to call the captain. She should have just stayed there in her back cubby.”
Quinonez’s family has reportedly said neither she nor other family members were not yet ready to speak publicly about the ordeal.
A trend of violence
A union that reportedly represents thousands of Southwest Airlines flight attendants has demanded that the CEO of the airline, Gary Kelly, take action to better protect the carrier’s crew from unruly and violent passengers. Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556, said, “This unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature.”
She claimed there were 477 incidents of misconduct by passengers on Southwest planes between April 8 and May 15. “I've been in the industry since 1992, and this is the worst ever,” Montgomery said. “People seem to be more angry. When they´re asked to do something, compliance seems to be more difficult.”
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.