Southwest Airlines passenger who punched and broke three teeth of flight attendant faces charges

A woman passenger accused of punching a Southwest Airlines flight attendant and breaking three of her teeth in May, now faces charges.

Vyvianna Quinonez is accused of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and interference with flight crew members and attendants, according to court documents.

In the Quinonez case, court records say a flight attendant asked Quinonez to stow her tray table, buckle her seat belt, and wear her face mask prior to landing at San Diego International Airport on May 23.

It is unclear if Quinonez complied, but the flight attendant approached her again. Quinonez then pushed the flight attendant, “stood up and knowingly assaulted her in the face and head with a closed fist and grabbing her hair.

Several other passengers intervened, according to the documents, including one who instructed Quinonez to sit down.

The injured flight attendant was left with bruised and swollen left eye. She sustained a cut under her left eye, requiring four stitches; a bruise in the shape of fingers on her right forearm, and three of her teeth were chipped and had to be replaced with crowns.

Quinonez claimed after the incident she “acted in self-defense,” according to court documents.

The day after the incident, the union representing Southwest flight attendants said passenger misconduct has reached an “intolerable level.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has previously acknowledged a “disturbing increase” in violent or disruptive behavior as far back as January, when the agency announced its zero-tolerance policy for unruly passengers.

Since the beginning of the year, the FAA has received approximately 4,090 reports of unruly passengers from airlines and has proposed more than $500,000 in fines against some of the offenders.