Southwest Airlines passenger accused of knocking out flight attendant’s teeth charged with felonies

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The Southwest Airlines passenger was officially charged with one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and one count of interfering with a flight crew. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – A woman from California who is accused of knocking out a flight attendant’s teeth has been charged with two felonies.

The woman, identified as Vyvianna Quinonez, was filmed attacking a Southwest Airlines crew member on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego on May 23. Shortly after the incident, Lyn Montgomery, the president of a union representing thousands of Southwest flight attendants, had confirmed the victim suffered facial injuries and the loss of two teeth.

At a federal court on Wednesday, Quinonez was officially charged with one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of interfering with a flight crew, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The outlet had previously obtained footage of the altercation, which appeared to show the passenger striking the flight attendant in the face and grabbing her hair. After the attack, blood was seen running down the crew member’s cheek.

Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556, cited the incident in a letter to Southwest CEO Gary C. Kelly earlier this year, urging him to take action against disruptive travelers.

“Unfortunately, this is just one of many occurrences,” she added. “I write to you today because we cannot tolerate our beloved Cohearts being abused in such a manner, and because I am asking for your help and leadership in ending these travesties.”

At the time, Southwest Airlines issued a statement confirming the incident. The carrier’s statement briefly reiterated Southwest’s stance on unruly passengers but did not address Montgomery’s demands specifically.

“We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our Flight Crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers,” the statement read.

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.

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