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Southwest passenger accused of knocking out flight attendant's two teeth banned from airline

This month, the Federal Aviation Administration warned travelers about a dramatic increase in unruly or dangerous behavior aboard passenger airplanes.
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A Southwest Airlines plane arrives at a gate at the Pittsburgh International Airport on July 2, 2019.Justin Merriman / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Southwest passenger accused of punching a flight attendant and causing her to lose two teeth has been banned from flying with the airline.

Chris Mainz, a Southwest spokesman, told NBC News on Friday that Vyvianna Quinonez is now "restricted from ever flying on Southwest Airlines again."

"She has been advised this decision is final," he said.

Witnesses on Sunday's flight from Sacramento to San Diego told police that Quinonez, 28, hit a flight attendant during a confrontation. A statement from Southwest said she had "repeatedly ignored standard inflight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing."

Paramedics took the flight attendant to Scripps Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Lyn Montgomery, the president of the Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, wrote in a letter Monday that the flight attendant was "seriously assaulted, resulting in injuries to the face and a loss of two teeth." Southwest has not released her name or her condition.

Police met the plane and Quinonez at the gate.

She was arrested on a charge of battery causing serious bodily injury and taken to the Las Colinas Detention Facility, according to a statement from the Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department.

It's unclear if she has an attorney.

Susan Stidham, who was on the flight, said the mostly full flight was not eventful, until the very end when the plane was taxiing and the assault occurred. She said the flight attendant's face was covered in blood.

The purpose of Montgomery's letter to Southwest's CEO was to ask for support as plane passengers become increasingly unruly.

"The unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature," Montgomery wrote.

This month, the Federal Aviation Administration warned air travelers that there has been a spike in disorderly or dangerous behavior aboard passenger planes.

In a typical year, the agency sees 100 to 150 formal cases of bad passenger behavior. Since the start of this year, that number has jumped to 2,500, including about 1,900 passengers who refused to comply with the federal mask mandate, according to the FAA.