Passenger who broke flight attendant's teeth in mask fight sentenced to 15 months

A California woman who admitted punching a Southwest Airlines flight attendant after being asked to wear a mask and fasten her seatbelt was sentenced to 15 months in prison Friday and ordered to pay more than $30,000 in fines and restitution, officials said.

Vyvianna Quinonez, 29, will remain on supervised release for three years and attend anger management classes for the May 23, 2021, assault aboard a flight from Sacramento to San Diego, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California said in a release.

Quinonez will also be barred from flying on commercial planes while under supervision, the prosecutor’s office said.

Quinonez pleaded guilty in December to one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants, the release said.

She admitted assaulting the flight attendant, who suffered two broken teeth and needed three stitches, after the worker told her to put on her seat belt, stow her tray table and wear her mask correctly during the flight’s final descent, the release said.

Quinonez’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The punishment came after a crackdown on what federal officials described as a spike in reports of unruly and dangerous behavior in the skies, much of it over masking.

The surge has since fallen, according to FAA data, though the number of reports investigated by the department remains above pre-pandemic levels.

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