The unruly Southwest Airlines passenger who attacked a flight attendant and knocked out two of her teeth last year was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Vyvianna Quinonez, 29, was also ordered by a federal judge on Tuesday to pay some $33,000 in restitution and fines and was banned from flying for three years upon her release from a federal lockup.
The California woman had pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight crew last year.
On May 23, 2021, Quinonez was asked to buckle her seat belt, stow her tray table, and put on her facemask properly as a Southwest flight from Sacramento approached San Diego.
Instead of complying, the woman began recording the flight attendant on her phone before pushing and punching her and grabbing her hair. The attack was recorded by another passenger.
The flight attendant suffered three chipped teeth, two of which required crowns. She also needed stitches for a cut under her eye, according to Quinonez’s plea deal.
“Attacks on flight crew members, who perform vital jobs to ensure passenger safety, will not be tolerated,” US Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement
Reports of unruly airline passengers saw a sky-high increase during the pandemic, as thousands of fliers refused to comply with COVID-19 safety precautions.
Of the 5,981 incidents recorded by the FAA last year, 4,290 were mask related.
The Federal Aviation Administration said last month its “zero-tolerance policy” for dealing with unruly passengers will become permanent.
With AP wires
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