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A Southwest Airlines flight attendant had two of her teeth knocked out by an unhinged passenger over the weekend, according to a union leader.
Lyn Montgomery, the president of TWU Local 556, drew attention to the attack in a letter to the airline’s CEO, writing that the flight attendant was “seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth.”
The shocking incident took place on Sunday morning, after a flight from Sacramento landed in San Diego, according to a Southwest spokesman.
A female passenger “repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing,” the spokesman, Chris Mainz, said Tuesday.
Police were asked to meet the plane when it arrived in San Diego, and the passenger was taken into custody, Mainz said.
Video on Facebook showed police officers with the San Diego Port Authority escorting a woman in leopard-print leggings and a sweatshirt from the plane.
Susan Marie Stidham, who posted the clip, said the woman apparently became enraged when the flight attendant told her to keep her seatbelt fastened while the plane was still moving, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“What I saw was the flight attendant in the front suddenly start screaming ‘No, No, No! Stop!’, and running toward the back,” Stidham wrote. “The woman in the back was attacking the flight attendant, punching her in the head.”
“While the flight attendant was staggering back with a bloody face, we were all told to stay in our seats while they brought in police to remove the unruly passenger.”
San Diego Harbor Police on Tuesday identified the passenger as Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, and said she was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, a felony, local outlets reported.
The flight attendant, who was not publicly identified, was treated at a hospital and later released. Southwest said it flew a friend to San Diego to be with her.
In her letter to CEO Gary Kelly on Sunday, Montgomery noted this was one of hundreds of recent incidents involving unruly travelers.
“The unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature,” the union boss wrote.
She said there were 477 “passenger misconduct incidents” on Southwest planes between April 8 and May 15.
Montgomery asked Kelly to lobby federal officials for more federal air marshals on flights and to ban passengers who violate rules instead of putting them on another flight.
“Let’s work together to increase personal safety and security across the industry and bring some stability back to our working lives,” she wrote.
With Post wires
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