Latest: Video shows passenger punching flight attendant; suspect arrested
SAN DIEGO — Video shows a woman being escorted off a plane after a flight attendant was assaulted on a flight to San Diego on Sunday.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said their reports indicate that a passenger physically assaulted a flight attendant as Flight 700 from Sacramento landed at San Diego International Airport.
“The passenger repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions (tray table in upright position, seat belt, etc.) and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing,” the statement said.
Port of San Diego Harbor Police received a call about the incident at 8:55 a.m. and officers met the plane at the gate, the department said Tuesday in a news release.
Officers arrested Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, on suspicion of battery causing serious bodily injury, police said. She was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility.
The flight attendant reportedly suffered facial injuries, including the loss of two teeth, according to a letter from TWU Local 556, a union that represents 15,000 Southwest flight attendants.
The flight attendant was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital, police said.
Lyn Montgomery, the union president, sent the letter to Southwest’s CEO on Monday. It outlines disruptive behavior by passengers and demanded the airline take action to better protect the carrier’s crew.
The FAA said earlier this month that U.S. airlines had reported a “disturbing increase” in violent or disruptive behavior, including 1,300 incidents of unruly passengers since February. TWU Local 556 claims Southwest’s flight attendants were forced to deal with “477 passenger misconduct incidents” during a five-week span in April and May.
Montgomery said Southwest should “better utilize” its restricted traveler list for unruly passengers, including those that defy federal mask mandates.
“No passenger should be removed from one flight only to be permitted to board the very next Southwest Airlines flight after a non-compliance incident. We ask that you take a strong stance to ensure that unruly passengers are not welcome to travel with us, period, full stop,” she said.