Dec. 24 (UPI) — A California woman pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge after being accused of punching a flight attendant in the face.
Vyvianna Quinonez, a 28-year-old Sacramento resident, pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant on a May 23 flight from Sacramento to San Diego, the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego said in a statement Wednesday.
During the flight’s final descent, Quinonez was not wearing her facemask properly, unbuckled her seat belt and pulled down her tray table.
When the flight attendant approached Quinonez and asked her to correct the violations of federal rules and regulations, Quinonez began filming the flight attendant on her cellphone and pushed her before standing up and punching the flight attendant in her face and head and grabbing her hair.
Another passenger filmed the altercation and several other passengers attempted to stop Quinonez by grabbing at her clothes and arms until a male passenger sitting nearby jumped between Quinonez and the flight attendant and told Quinonez to sit down.
As a result of the assault, the flight attendant’s left eye was bruised, swollen and cut, requiring three stitches and three of her teeth were chipped, resulting in two teeth later being replaced by crowns, according to the plea agreement. She also sustained a bruise on her right forearm.
“The flight attendant who was assaulted was simply doing her job to ensure the safety of all passengers aboard the plane,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said. “It’s inexcusable for anyone to use violence on an airplane for any reason, particularly toward a flight attendant who is here to keep all the passengers safe.”
Quinonez is set to be sentenced on March 11 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.