Stunning video has been released of a passenger on Southwest Flight 700 delivering blows to a flight attendant, breaking her nose and knocking out two teeth. The incident is only the latest in a trend of passenger misconduct on airlines this year.
On May 23, Southwest Airlines Flight 700 touched down at San Diego International Airport after taking off in Sacramento. Then, as CBS 8 San Diego reports, a flight attendant asked a passenger, 28-year-old Vyvianna Quinonez, to fasten her seatbelt and put up her tray table. Witnesses say that Quinonez didn’t comply, and when the attendant later returned to ask her to put on her seatbelt, she got up and delivered heavy blows to the flight attendant.
Check out this startling report by CBS 8 San Diego showing footage of the attack. The video starts off with the passenger saying that they’re going to sue the flight attendant, then it goes downhill from there:
The baffling part is how Quinonez just sits back down after the attack like nothing happened. Southwest Airlines says that Quinonez repeatedly ignored instructions from the flight crew prior to the attack, from CBS 8 San Diego:
While specific details on what sparked the alleged attack were not released, Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said in a statement, “The passenger repeatedly ignored standard in-flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing. Law enforcement officials were requested to meet the flight upon arrival, and the passenger was taken into custody. We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.
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Michelle Manner, another passenger, speaking to the Sacramento Bee, says that the flight attendant and Quinonez were fighting for most of the flight and that both are in the wrong, from Sacramento Bee:
Manner claimed the flight attendant “was nothing but provocative, leaning over the lady (Quinonez) on the aisle seat” during the flight. The crew member was “very rude and unprofessional the whole flight,” though Manner said that doesn’t excuse the violence and was sad to hear the attendant was injured.
There was a reason that the flight attendant was leaning over Quinonez. According to the CBS 8 San Diego report, another passenger in the same row was refusing to properly wear their face mask. The flight attendant was trying to get both passengers to comply with basic safety instructions.
Quinonez was arrested and charged with felony battery causing serious bodily injury. She claims her punches were self defense. ABC 7 reports that assaulting a member of a flight crew can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
The Federal Aviation Administration says that unruly passengers have been a big problem this year, with at least 2,500 passengers being reported for bad behavior since the start of the year. Southwest Airlines reported 477 incidents with passengers between April 8 and May 15.
A flight attendant is not wrong to demand passengers to follow some basic rules. A plane’s flight crew is there to help the flight go smoothly and safely and their instructions aren’t suggestions. Listen to them and enjoy your flight.