Southwest Airlines has levied a lifetime ban on a woman who was allegedly recorded punching a flight attendant while on a trip from northern to southern California last week. The flight attendant was left bloodied, and reportedly lost two teeth in the confrontation.
Vyvianna Quinonez, the 28-year-old passenger accused of confronting the flight attendant, appears to have been set off around the time the flight was preparing to land, according to video footage, reports The Washington Post. The video shows a woman lunge up and punch the flight attendant in the face, causing the Southwest Airlines employee to begin bleeding.
Video obtained by CBS News shows the moment a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was punched by a passenger after asking her to keep her seat belt fastened during a flight from Sacramento to San Diego Sunday. https://t.co/gQusevodYC pic.twitter.com/oOYvPdwCFj
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 27, 2021
Several seconds later, the confrontation still ongoing, a male passenger jumps between the two and demands the woman sit down, telling her, “Don’t you dare touch a flight attendant like that.”
Port of San Diego Harbor police officers boarded the plane after it landed at San Diego International Airport and arrested Quinonez. She was charged with felony battery.
“According to witnesses, an altercation between a passenger and a flight attendant had taken place during the flight. During the altercation, the passenger struck the flight attendant, causing serious injuries,” said Port of San Diego Public Safety.
Although there isn’t evidence that alcohol played a role in the confrontation, the airline has decided against resuming alcohol service due to an increase in “passenger disruptions,” according to CNN, which reportedly obtained an internal Southwest Airlines memo.
According to The New York Times, American Airlines decided Saturday against renewing alcohol service as well, saying in a memo that “alcohol can contribute to atypical behavior from customers onboard and we owe it to our crew not to potentially exacerbate what can already be a new and stressful situation for our customers.”
Shortly before Southwest circulated its memo, Southwest announced Quinonez was banned from flying with them again. A spokesperson for Southwest told CNN that the woman had “been advised this decision is final” and cannot be appealed.
A least one passenger told the KCRA-3 that she believed the flight attendant was partially to blame for the incident.
“She had made like three requests for [the flight attendant] to back up and she didn’t,” said the passenger.
The passenger told the news agency that she also had a negative experience with that flight attendant, but hers was over pretzels and masks. “As I was putting one in my mouth, she was walking by and she said ‘put your mask back on.’ I just looked at my daughter and I was like, okay,” she said.
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