California woman knocks out attendant’s teeth on Southwest flight, investigators say

SAN DIEGO — A California woman, who was not wearing a seatbelt or mask properly, punched out an attendant’s teeth and pulled her hair during a flight, investigators said.

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Vyvianna M. Quinonez attacked a Southwest Airlines attendant, knocking out two teeth and inflicting other injuries to the woman’s face, during a May 23 flight from Sacramento to San Diego. The attack happened after she was asked to fasten her seatbelt, stow her tray table and properly wear her mask, prosecutors said.

Quinonez was charged in federal court Wednesday with interfering with a flight crew. She will appear in court in San Diego Sept. 17. She also faces charges in state court.

The flight attendant received four stitches, her left eye was bruised and swollen and her right arm was bruised.

Quinonez said she acted in self-defense, investigators said.

“We’ll go forward with the case and see what happens,” Quinonez’s attorney, Knut Johnson, told The Washington Post.

Watch the video of the assault below. Viewer discretion advised.

>> FAA issues $500,000 in fines to unruly passengers

The incident is part of an increase in unruly behavior by passengers on aircraft. The FAA has recorded 3,889 cases of unruly passengers, with 2,867 incidents this year because of disputes over wearing a mask. The agency has fined passengers more than $1 million. Typically, the FAA might have 100 to 150 bad passenger cases in a year, NBC News reported. The president of the flight attendant’s union has asked for more air marshals on planes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.