Vivianna M. Quinonez was charged in court with assault and interfering with a flight crew.
SAN DIEGO — A California woman who allegedly punched a steward within the face and grabbed her hair was charged with assault Wednesday in court.
Vivianna M. Quinonez was also charged with interfering with a flight crew. She is scheduled to seem 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 their left eye required four stitches, her left eye was bruised and swollen, and her right arm was bruised.
The steward had asked Quinonez to lock her seatbelt, stow her tray table and properly wear her facemask because the plane began its final descent.
Quinonez told authorities that she acted in self-defense, consistent with an evidence statement. Her attorney, Knut Johnson, didn’t immediately answer an invitation for comment. The Sacramento Bee has reported that Quinonez lives within 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 invite 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 seem in court on Sept. 10.