Southwest Airlines attendant loses 2 teeth in assault on San Diego-bound flight

Mom says airline worker mocked child's 'Abcde' name, posted it to social media
Posted at 9:56 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 19:02:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A Southwest Airlines flight attendant reportedly lost two teeth after being attacked by a passenger on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego, according to the airline's flight attendants' union.

The incident reportedly took place on Sunday, May 23 just before 9 a.m. as the flight was landing at San Diego International Airport.

San Diego Harbor Police said in a release that officers were called to a "disturbance on board Southwest Airlines Flight 700 inbound to the San Diego International Airport from Sacramento, Calif. Harbor Police officers met the aircraft at the gate and began an investigation. According to witnesses, an altercation between a passenger and a flight attendant had taken place during the flight. During the altercation, the passenger struck the flight attendant, causing serious injuries."

San Diego Fire-Rescue also responded and attended to the flight attendant, who was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital. The attendant's condition was not immediately available.

The passenger, identified as 28-year-old Vyvianna Quinonez, was arrested for battery causing serious bodily injury and booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility.

The president of the Southwest flight attendants' union, Lyn Montgomery, wrote in a letter to airlines CEO Gary Kelly that she wants more air marshals being utilized and a tougher stance against disruptive passengers:

"One tool to better utilize would be the Southwest Airlines restricted travelers list. The flying public needs to understand that egregious behavior will result in being banned from flying with Southwest Airlines. Our airline should deliver education on the associated civil penalties, criminal charges and possible imprisonment under federal law for abusers. Passengers who do not comply with regulations and federal mask mandates cause disruptions to our operations and to our Customers' travel plans, resulting in gate returns, flight diversions and delays. Consistency is key to this, as well: 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. Flight Crews must feel safe and supported when reporting to work."

Montgomery added that from April 8 to May 15, there have been 477 passenger misconduct incidents on Southwest Airlines flights. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines have reported about 2,500 cases of unruly passengers this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.