2:26 PM PDT, May 26, 2021
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant had her teeth knocked out by a passenger in a sickening attack captured on camera. Video shows the passenger repeatedly punching the attendant on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego.
Another passenger stepped in to come to her aid, and moments later, the flight attendant was seen with blood smeared across her battered face. Witnesses say it started after the passenger took off her seatbelt after landing. The flight attendant told her to keep it on while the plane was taxiing.
Passenger Michelle Manner shot the shocking video.
“It’s just sad to me that America is so frustrated right now. People don’t want to be told what to do,” Manner said.
The latest incident comes as assaults on flight attendants are skyrocketing. They say they have been pushed, punched, slapped and even choked by unruly passengers. Authorities fear there may be more violence in the skies over Memorial Day weekend.
In one incident in March, five passengers helped subdue a man who allegedly became unruly on a flight in Denver. Two flight attendants were injured.
The Federal Aviation Administration usually handles 150 incidents of unruly passengers in a year. So far this year, there have been 2,500 cases — and it’s only May.
“The hostility that passengers are showing right now is unprecedented. And it becomes a challenge for flight attendants just on a day-to-day basis. They’re being called names. They’re being challenged. They’re just facing situations that we’ve never had to face before,” Lynn Montgomery, president of Transit Workers Union Local 556, told Inside Edition.
Police say the woman who punched the flight attendant is 28-year-old Vivyanna Quinonez.
“If you misbehave on board an aircraft, you should be banned from flying on that airline for life,” Montgomery said.
Quinonez was arrested on suspicion of battery causing serious injury. She claims she acted in self-defense.