The FAA recently said they have received about 2,500 reports this year. The increase in disruptive behavior, which comes with a hefty fine and possible jail time, could be due to increased tension and the mask requirement. Nevertheless, passengers are acting out and everyone has had enough. During a Southwest flight from Sacramento to San Diego, a flight attendant whose identity has not been released was attacked. As a result two of her teeth were knocked out.
It is unclear who initiated the altercation, though one passenger suggests it was the flight attendant.
“Vyvianna had said to her three times, that we could hear, get off of me. Quit touching me. Get your hands off of me,” Manner said.
Manner, who was sitting two rows in front of the fight, said the flight attendant approached Vyvianna Quinonez and her family and rudely told them to put their masks on. She reportedly said she was going to call the captain, but instead handled the situation herself.
Susan Stidham was sitting in the front of the plane, and she recorded Quinonez being escorted off the plane.
She said she heard a flight attendant tell someone to keep their seat belt on because the plane was still taxiing. Then a flight attendant from the front of the plane rushed towards the back of the plane yelling, “No, No, No! Stop!”
“I thought maybe someone was trying to open the back doors at first, but the woman in the back was attacking the flight attendant, punching her in the head,” she wrote.
San Diego Harbor Police met the plane and escorted Quinonez off. The flight attendant was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said, “The passenger repeatedly ignored standard in-flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing.”
“We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.”
Lyn Montgomery, the president of the Southwest flight attendants union, called for more protection for flight attendants in a letter to Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly.
“Often times, appropriate actions to maintain a safe environment have been misconstrued as being unkind or inhospitable.”