Southwest Airlines has permanently banned the 28-year-old passenger who is accused hit a flight attendant on a flight from Sacramento, California to San Diego on Sunday. The flight attendant’s union said she lost two teeth.
Sonya Lacore, vice president of flight operations in the Southwest, announced the ban in a memo to flight attendants about the now viral incident.
“As we have previously announced, we have a procedure to permanently prevent passengers from traveling to the Southwest. Please note that the passenger involved in the most recent incident has been advised that they may no longer be with us Southwest Airlines is allowed to fly, “Lacore said on Wednesday’s note, a copy of which was received from USA TODAY.
Port of San Diego Port Police identified the passenger earlier this week as Vyvianna Quinonez and said she was charged with a battery that caused serious injury, a crime.
“According to witnesses, an argument between a passenger and a flight attendant had taken place during the flight,” the police department said in a statement. “During the altercation, the passenger hit the flight attendant and caused serious injuries.”
A passenger from San Diego has now called with graphic video the argument, saying the flight attendant shares the blame for the incident, according to TV reports.
Southwest’s flight attendants union, Transport Workers Union Local 556, was the first to first report the incident on USA TODAY in a letter to Southwest CEO Gary Kelly Monday.
“Last weekend, one of our flight attendants was badly attacked, resulting in facial injuries and the loss of two teeth,” said Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556, on many incidents in the letter. I am writing to you today because we cannot tolerate our loved ones (the southwest word for co-workers) being abused in this way, and I ask for your help and guidance in ending these travesties. ”
Lacore said in the memo that she was “deeply concerned” about the incident.
“Please don’t confuse my lack of communication with my lack of work behind the scenes, primarily to ensure our flight attendant received immediate help and ongoing care. I have been in contact with her and we will continue to provide that.” Support she needs, ”she said.
“I have also gathered the information necessary to ensure that this incident was properly reported – a step that must be taken before I can share accurate information with all of you, and it is important to me that you have the facts Now hope you understand where my focus has been since then and that my heart was deeply troubled. ”
In the letter to Kelly, the flight attendants union asked for assistance from the company after more and more recalcitrant passengers, some of whom are physically with crew members, received assistance.
Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have reported a sharp increase in incidents, many of which are related to compliance masking. The FAA has a Zero tolerance policy, and ahead of the summer travel season, officials reiterated this week that badly behaved passengers will face grave consequences.
“We are addressing this emphatically,” said Alejandro Mayokas, Minister of Homeland Security, at a press conference on Tuesday. “We will not tolerate behavior that endangers the well-being of the public (or) employees.” are brave at the forefront of making travel easier for individuals looking to reunite with family and friends. ”
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In spite of Relaxed Mask Guidelines From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, masks remain a must-have on airplanes and at airports following the recent expansion of the program Federal mask mandate for public transport.
Lacore said in the memo that the airline is providing the CDC and TSA with “information” about the impact of the mask mandate on our employees and our customers. And she urged the union to do the same, suggesting that this may be a behind-the-scenes push by the airlines to remove the mandate.
Meanwhile, she said, Southwest is considering interim relief measures, including changes in its in-flight announcements to passengers about its strict mask policy. She said the airline is “working fast” to make adjustments and may have something before the travel storm starts on Memorial Day.