The Southwest passenger who was seen in a viral video punching a flight attendant — and busting two of her teeth — is permanently banned from the airline.
The altercation occurred Sunday, when the unnamed worker approached Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, and her family about not wearing masks after their flight from Sacramento had landed in San Diego.
Southwest officials announced that Quinonez would be barred from the airline in a memo to flight attendants, according to USA Today.
“As we’ve communicated previously, we do have a process to permanently restrict passengers from traveling on Southwest, and please know that the passenger involved in the most recent incident has been advised that she may no longer fly on Southwest Airlines,” Sonya Lacore, Southwest’s vice president of in-flight operations, wrote in the memo, according to the newspaper.
Quinonez is also facing a felony charge of battery causing serious bodily injury in connection with the incident, The Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department said.
“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,” a Tuesday press release from the agency read.
However one passenger who recorded the fight said that the flight attendant should not have escalated the confrontation, or touched the suspect.
“It was so unnecessary. In the first altercation, she had said that she was going to call the captain,” passenger Michelle Manner, who was sitting two rows in front of them, told local station Fox 40.
Manner claims instead of doing that, she came back over and put her hands on Quinonez.
“Vyvianna had said to her three times, that we could hear, ‘Get off of me. Quit touching me. Get your hands off of me,’” she recounted to the station.
The flight attendants union, Transport Workers Union Local 556, first disclosed the incident and the worker’s injuries to USA Today.
“This past weekend, one of our flight attendants was seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth,” Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556 said in the letter, obtained by the newspaper on Monday. “Unfortunately, this is just one of many occurrences.”
The TSA has expanded mandatory mask-wearing guidelines on planes through September, and said violators will be punished, amid a reported spike in incidents regarding mask compliance.
“We’re addressing it quite forcefully,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayokas said at a news conference Tuesday, according to the report. “We’re not going to tolerate behavior that threatens the well-being of the public (or) of the employees that bravely are on the front lines to facilitate the travel for individuals who want to reunite with family and friends.”