San Diego

Video Shows Assault of SW Flight Attendant Who Lost Two Teeth; Passenger Banned

Southwest Airlines has banned a woman accused of punching a flight attendant in the face last weekend

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New video shows the attack that left a Southwest Airlines flight attendant bloodied and without two teeth.

The incident happened during a flight from Sacramento to San Diego on Sunday morning. The airline said the passenger ignored instructions from the flight attendant before assaulting her.

Michelle Manner shot the video and says both the passenger and the flight attendant were yelling at each other before the punch was thrown.

Manner says the disagreement was over the mask policy and that everything escalated.

"You can already tell just from the short clip that I have that there was an altercation prior to this one and that there were heated moments that built up to it," Manner said. "Again, not condoning either of their behavior and they both should have handled it differently and it's just very unfortunate."

The video shows a male passenger interceding to stop the attack.

The passenger was taken into custody when the flight landed. San Diego authorities charged Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, with felony battery.

Southwest Airlines has banned Quinonez. An airline executive disclosed the ban Thursday in a message to employees.

Sonya Lacore, Southwest's vice president of in-flight operations, told flight attendants that the airline has a process for permanently banning passengers and "the passenger involved in the most recent incident has been advised that she may no longer fly on Southwest Airlines."

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said "We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers."

The Dallas-based airline has not revealed the name of the flight attendant, who was treated at a San Diego hospital and released. Lacore said she has contacted her, "and we will continue to provide her the support she needs."

The Federal Aviation Administration says in a typical year, the agency sees 100 to 150 formal cases of bad passenger behavior. Since the start of this year, that number has jumped to 2,500, including about 1,900 passengers who refused to comply with the federal mask mandate, according to the FAA.

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