Passenger Punches Flight Attendant and Knocks Out Her Teeth, All Because She Was Asked to Follow the Rules

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Nov 19, 2023

Flight attendants meet a wide variety of people each day. Some passengers are pleasant, while others can be difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, some will occasionally be verbally and physically abusive. 

A recent Southwest Airlines flight made the news for all the wrong reasons. One flight attendant was physically assaulted after making a simple request to a passenger, and it was all caught on tape.  

Not Your Average Monday

In May 2021, many people were excited to leave the house and begin traveling again after the Covid lockdowns. However, not everyone made the most of their travels. 


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During a routine Southwest flight from Sacramento to San Diego, everything went as usual until a female flight attendant asked one passenger to comply with the rules. 


A Complete Overreaction

As the plane began its descent, the female flight attendant began doing her usual checks. She politely asked everyone to return to their seat, buckle their belts, and lift their face masks.


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Yet, one female passenger would repeatedly ignore the simple request given to her. When asked for a third time, she became verbally abusive and began arguing with the attendant. 

No One Imagined What Would Happen Next

When the plane landed, the female passenger, Vyvianna Quionez, continued with her verbal abuse. Soon, things escalated in a manner that shocked all the other passengers aboard the plane. 


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After disregarding a request to pull up her mask, the passenger began to film the flight attendant. Next, she stood up from her seat, pushed the flight attendant, and began to physically assault her. 

The Passengers Can’t Believe Their Eyes

Eyewitness accounts claim that while the plane was taxiing on the runway, Ms. Quinonez punched the flight attendant several times and pulled her hair. 


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Luckily for the flight attendant, a few passengers stepped in to defuse the situation and restrained the aggravated passenger. 

A Day the Attendant Is Trying to Forget

The flight attendant was taken to the hospital after the event. She was treated for numerous minor injuries, including a swollen eye and a cut from which blood ran down her face. 

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The flight attendant was also left with three chipped teeth, two of which needed crowns. 


Eyewitness Accounts of the Crime

Susan Stidham shared the video of the violent attack on social media, confirming the claim that Ms. Quinonez became enraged when the attendant asked her to buckle up her belt. 

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“What I saw was the flight attendant in the front suddenly started screaming ‘No, No, No! Stop!, and running toward the back,” Susan said of the attack.


Do The Crime, Do The Time

Ms. Quinonez was escorted off the flight by police once the plane had safely arrived in the parking bay. 

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According to reports, the violent attacker was later tried and pleaded guilty to charges, including battery with intent to cause severe bodily harm. 


A Sentence to Fit the Crime

Ms. Quinonez bargained for a plea deal but won’t avoid jail time. After her sentencing in May 2022, she received 15 months in federal prison. 

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According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, she also had to pay $26,000 in restitution and a $7,500 fine. 


Quinonez Issues an Apology

During the initial sentencing, Quinonez was given a chance to speak, and she immediately apologized for her assault on the flight attendant. 

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The attacker said she had suffered from recent depression and felt humiliated because the flight attendant had asked her to lift up her mask on various occasions. 


California Attorney Offers His Take

The attack came amid a period in which violence had increased on a number of airlines, as travel began to pick up once again after major lockdowns. 

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The news reached Randy Grossman, US attorney for the Southern District of California, who said “Attacks on flight crew members, who perform vital jobs to ensure passenger safety, will not be tolerated.”


The FBI Doesn’t Take Airline Violence Lightly

The news of the attack spread throughout the country and even reached the desks of the FBI, who assured the public that violent acts would not be tolerated. 

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Special Agent Stacey Moy made a statement in which she said the sentence put forth should be “a very strong message to air travelers—the FBI will vigorously pursue anyone who assaults or interferes with flight crews.”