(KTXL) — A woman who was accused of punching a Southwest Airlines flight attendant was charged in federal court Wednesday with two felony counts.
According to court records, Vyvianna Quinonez faces charges of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and interference with flight crew members and attendants.
Multiple witnesses on the May 23 flight from Sacramento described the scene as Quinonez hit the unidentified flight attendant, leaving her with three chipped teeth, bruises and a cut near her left eye, which records say required four stitches. Two of her teeth were later replaced with crowns.
According to court records, Quinonez unbuckled her seatbelt and lowered her tray table while Southwest Airlines Flight 700 descended into San Diego.
The flight attendant reportedly told Quinonez to buckle her seatbelt and put up her table, as well as put her mask on properly. At the time, federal regulations required passengers over the age of 2 to have a face covering over their nose and mouth while flying.
Records say when Quinonez refused to comply with the flight attendant, she also took out her cell phone and started recording. The flight attendant went up to her again, which is when Quinonez pushed her.
“In the beginning, they were not arguing. They were just like, ‘Do this, don’t do that, don’t do this, don’t do that.’ Then even the flight attendant said, ‘Don’t touch me,’” recalled passenger Kotaro Arai.
Video shared with FOX40 then shows Quinonez stand up and punch the flight attendant in the face. Court records said she also grabbed the woman’s hair before other passengers stepped in.
Quinonez was later arrested and escorted off the plane by the Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department. She has since been banned from flying with Southwest.
Quinonez later claimed she acted in self defense, according to court records.
The flight attendant was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital for treatment.
FOX40 spoke to one witness, San Diego resident Michelle Manner, who was sitting just two rows away from the back of the plane, where it all happened. She caught the punch on her phone and claimed the flight attendant provoked the attack.
“The flight attendant continued to yell. And I mean she was yelling. We got to the point to, where we’re like, should we start videoing this?” Manner said. “She was very unprofessional, very rude about the way she handled anything.”
Other passengers felt differently.
“I don’t know what makes somebody do such a stupid thing, I honestly don’t,” said passenger Susan Marie Stidham.
Quinonez will make her first court appearance Sept. 17 in San Diego.
See the complaint in full below.