Woman Pleads Guilty to Attacking Flight Attendant

Vyvianna Quinonez expected to get 4-month sentence plus 3-year flight ban
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2021 9:22 AM CDT
Updated Dec 23, 2021 8:31 AM CST

Update: California woman Vyvianna Quinonez has admitted attacking a Southwest flight attendant earlier this year and is likely to face prison time—plus a long ban from flying. The Sacramento resident pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to interfering with a flight attendant, NBC San Diego reports. According to a Department of Justice release, the attendant was hospitalized with injuries including three chipped teeth and a cut that required stitches. Quinonez will be sentenced in March. Prosecutors are expected to recommend four months in prison, plus six months of home confinement, restitution payments, and a three-year ban on flying on commercial airlines. Our story from Sept. 3 follows:

A California woman is facing two felony charges after allegedly punching a flight attendant, who was left bloodied with three broken teeth. Vyvianna Quinonez of Antelope is charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and interfering with a flight crew—which could mean up to 20 years in prison— following a Southwest Airlines flight from Sacramento to San Diego on May 23. Around the time of landing, the flight attendant, identified as "SL," had instructed Quinonez, 28, to "fasten her seat belt and stow her tray table" and to "wear her face mask properly," the charging document reads, per the Sacramento Bee.

Quinonez refused, then pushed the woman, according to the document. A video filmed by another passenger, obtained by the Bee in May, then shows a woman police identified as Quinonez—with a mask covering her mouth but not her nose—standing and throwing several punches, striking the flight attendant on the cheek. A man then jumped between the two women as blood was seen streaming from a cut below the flight attendant's eye. The cut required four stitches, according to the filing. It adds three of the woman's teeth were chipped, two of which had to be replaced with crowns.

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The passenger who filmed the video and shared it with law enforcement told the Bee the pair had been arguing throughout the flight. She described the flight attendant as "very rude and unprofessional" and said she'd heard the passenger tell the flight attendant not to touch her three times, per KTXL. Her video begins with a woman seated next to Quinonez telling the flight attendant, "We are gonna sue you." Escorted off the plane and then banned from the airline, Quinonez told authorities she'd acted in self-defense. She's to appear in San Diego court on Sept. 17. She's also facing charges in state court, where she's to appear Sept. 10, per the AP. (Read more assault stories.)

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