A Sacramento woman has pleaded guilty to assaulting a Southwest flight attendant who asked her to wear her mask properly.
Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, admitted Wednesday to repeatedly punching the airline employee, identified only as SL, during the final descent on her May 23 flight from Sacramento International Airport to San Diego International Airport.
As SL was making his final rounds, he noticed that Quiñonez was not wearing his face mask properly and had left his seat belt unbuckled and the tray table lowered, all violations of federal law, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the US. Southern District of California.
The flight attendant asked Quiñonez to fix the problems, at which point the passenger pushed SL, then punched her several times and pulled her hair.
The attack was caught on another passenger’s camera.
SL was left with three chipped teeth, two so bad they had to be replaced with crowns, a swollen left eye, a cut requiring three stitches, and a finger-shaped bruise on his right forearm.
“The flight attendant who was assaulted was simply doing her job to ensure the safety of all passengers on board the aircraft,” Acting United States Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement Wednesday.
“It is inexcusable for anyone to use violence on an airplane for any reason, particularly towards a flight attendant who is there to keep all passengers safe. We will not tolerate violence or interference with the flight crew, and we will pursue criminal charges against those who break the law.”
The US Attorney’s Office is expected to recommend that Quiñonez be sentenced to four months in custody and six months of home confinement, Assistant US Attorney Jaclyn Stahl said Wednesday. He could also face a $5,000 fine, mandatory restitution payments, community service and anger management classes and be banned from flying commercial flights for three years.
As of Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration had recorded 5,779 reports of unruly passengers, 4,156 of which were “mask-related incidents.”