Harbor police ID passenger accused of assaulting flight attendant

Earns Airlines

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Authorities Tuesday publicly identified a woman who allegedly attacked a flight attendant last weekend on a plane bound for San Diego, knocking out two of her teeth.

Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, was arrested Sunday morning at the culmination of a flight from Sacramento to San Diego International Airport.

San Diego Harbor Police received reports just before 9 a.m. regarding a disturbance during which a passenger struck a flight attendant in the face aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 700, according to the San Diego Harbor Police. The victim was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital, SDHP Sgt. Timothy De La Pena said.

Quinonez was arrested on suspicion of felony battery causing serious bodily injury and was booked into Las Colinas women’s jail in Santee, police said. County records did not show Quinonez in custody as of Tuesday afternoon.

While specific details on what sparked the alleged attack were not released, Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said in a statement, “The passenger repeatedly ignored standard in-flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing. Law enforcement officials were requested to meet the flight upon arrival, and the passenger was taken into custody. We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.”

Lyn Montgomery, president of the Southwest flight attendants union, referenced the San Diego incident in an open letter dated Monday to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, which stated that “passenger non-compliance events” are becoming increasingly common and “more aggressive in nature.”

Montgomery wrote that 477 passenger misconduct incidents occurred between April 8 and May 15 alone.

“Today’s traveling environment requires a new level of firmness in both tone and direction to ensure proper control in the cabin of our aircraft as the attitudes and behaviors of the flying public have, unfortunately, declined,” Montgomery wrote.

The letter seeks assistance from Kelly in directing management to support flight attendants and make it clear to passengers that they could face civil penalties and/or criminal charges for not complying with regulations or federal mask mandates.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it has received around 2,500 reports of “unruly behavior” from passengers since Jan. 1, with around 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the mask regulation.

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