SAN DIEGO —
A California woman who allegedly punched a flight attendant in the face and grabbed her hair was charged with assault Wednesday in federal court.
Vyvianna M. Quinonez was also charged with interfering with a flight crew. She is scheduled to appear in court in San Diego on Sept. 17.
The attendant on the Southwest Airlines plane lost two teeth and suffered other injuries to her face on the May 23 flight from Sacramento, California, to San Diego, prosecutors said in court documents. A cut under left eye required four stitches, her left eye was bruised and swollen, and her right arm was bruised.
The flight attendant had asked Quinonez to fasten her seatbelt, stow her tray table and properly wear her facemask as the plane began its final descent.
Quinonez told authorities that she acted in self-defense, according to a probable cause statement. Her attorney, Knut Johnson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Sacramento Bee has reported that Quinonez lives in the Sacramento suburb of Antelope.
The incident marked an escalation in unruly behavior by airline passengers and led the president of the flight attendants’ union to ask for more federal air marshals on planes.
Quinonez also faces charges in state court. Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for the San Diego County district attorney’s office, said she is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 10.