Footage on board a plane shows the shocking moment an enraged passenger punched out the teeth of an air hostess.
Both Southwest and American Airlines have since banned sales of booze on flights.
The woman reportedly became irate when she was asked to put her mask over her nose and prepare for landing in California’s San Diego International Airport.
Police arrested Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, immediately after the incident and charged her with felony battery.
The stewardess lost two teeth and sustained minor facial injuries on the flight from Sacramento.
Credit risk analyst Michelle Manner, 57, was sat two rows behind when trouble started brewing between the two women and she started recording.
‘There was an altercation about five minutes before the fight,’ she said, ‘I noticed the screaming back and forth.
‘It was about wearing face masks all the way over your nose.
‘I had my phone already in my hand when the flight attendant came back out to scream some more at the passengers – so I hit video rather quickly.
‘I thought, “Oh my God, is this really happening?”
‘I focused on holding my phone still so that the video can serve its purpose, including evidence.’
Her video appears to shows Quinonez, who is sat in an aisle seat at the back of the plane, jump up and begin hitting the poor stewardess as other passengers scream.
She continues to throw punches until a man steps between them and orders her to stop.
Michelle said passengers were stunned into silence afterwards: ‘It was dead silent in that airplane. Nobody said a word.
‘We landed and we were all asked to stay in our seats while the police were on their way.’
The alleged assailant was taken into police custody and charged with federal battery, as well as given a lifetime ban from flying with Southwest Airlines.
The altercation led to an alcohol ban on all flights from the airline until the end of July to prevent further similar incidents.
Agencies and officials in the USA have hardened their stance on unruly passengers, with some suggesting a major crackdown could see penalties of up to $15,000 brought in.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that from January 1 to May 24, there were roughly 2,500 reports of unruly behaviour by passengers, including about 1,900 reports of people refusing to comply with the rule to wear masks.
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said: ‘The passenger repeatedly ignored standard in-flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive upon landing.
‘Law enforcement officials were requested to meet the flight upon arrival, and the passenger was taken into custody.
‘We do not condone or tolerate verbal or physical abuse of our flight crews, who are responsible for the safety of our passengers.’
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