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Woman pleads guilty to interfering with Southwest attendant on San Diego-bound flight

Flight attendant assault caught on video
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Posted at 3:24 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 18:30:55-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The passenger caught on video during a violent interaction on a San Diego-bound Southwest Airlines in May has pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight attendant.

During a change of plea hearing on Wednesday, Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty in a San Diego federal courthouse to the charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A judge will sentence Quinonez on March 11, 2022, but prosecutors said they would likely be recommending a sentence of 10 months, including 4 months custody, and 6 months home confinement.

“The flight attendant who was assaulted was simply doing her job to ensure the safety of all passengers aboard the plane,” said Acting US Attorney Randy Grossman in a release. “It’s inexcusable for anyone to use violence on an airplane for any reason, particularly toward a flight attendant who is there to keep all the passengers safe. We are not going to tolerate violence or interference with the flight crew, and we will pursue criminal charges against those who break the law.”

On May 23, 2021, video captured the violent incident between Quinonez and a flight attendant on Southwest flight 700 from Sacramento to San Diego. According to the airlines, the attendant requested Quinonez to fasten her seat belt, stow her tray table, and wear her face mask properly during the plane's descent.

Under the plea agreement, Quinonez states that she began filming the flight attendant on her phone and that she pushed the attendant. She also admitted that she stood up and assaulted the attendant by punching her in the face and grabbing her hair.

Another passenger stood between Quinonez and the attendant and yelled at her to sit down. Several other passengers also attempted to stop Quinonez by grabbing at her clothing and arms.

The assault left the flight attendant with three chipped teeth that resulted in two being replaced with crowns, a bruised and swollen eye, and a cut under her left eye that needed stitches. She was also bruised on her arm.

The incident came during a string of incidents between passengers and flight staff at several airlines.