Southwest Airlines passenger who repeatedly struck flight attendant to serve up to 15 months in prison

The passenger of a Southwest flight who pleaded guilty to repeatedly striking a flight attendant last year after she was told to wear her face mask will spend up to 15 months in federal custody, following a court ruling Friday.

Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, is also required to pay nearly $ 26,000 in restitution following an incident that left the Southwest Airlines employee with three chipped teeth and an eye injury that required stitches last May, FOX 5 San Diego reported.

Quinonez is also required to pay a $ 7,500 fine and serve three additional years of supervised release, court documents show.

She will also have to undergo counseling or anger management courses and has been banned from flying on commercial airlines, according to the report.

Southwest flight attendant attacked

Disturbance on Southwest Airlines Flight 700 at the San Diego International Airport. (Taro Arai) (Taro Arai)

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“Today’s sentence should send a very strong message to air travelers – the FBI will vigorously pursue anyone who assaults or interferes with flight crews,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy said in a statement, FOX San Diego reported.

Southwest flight attendant attacked

Disturbance on Southwest Airlines Flight 700 at the San Diego International Airport. (Taro Arai) (Taro Arai)

Airline officials claim Quinonez grew erratic after she refused commands from staff members to wear her face mask, wear a seatbelt, and lift her tray table before she began screaming at the staff and pushing them. She then attacked the flight attendant, according to the report.

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Other staff members were involved in the incident and several passengers on the flight from Sacramento to San Diego joined in to stop the dispute, Fox 5 reported.

Southwest Airlines flight

A Southwest Airlines employee helps a passenger to check in at a counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on October 11, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Alex Wong / Getty Images / Getty Images)

A Southwest Airlines spokesperson said Quinonez “created a situation onboard Flight 700 that jeopardized the entire flight and created an unsafe environment,” a letter submitted to the U.S. District Court showed.

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Quinonez’s “actions negatively impacted our workgroup beyond description… causing fear to come permanently into the workplace,” the spokesperson added, per the report.

She faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine, officials said.

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