Now That People are Flying More Again Airlines Have a Very Big Problem

N257WN Southwest Airlines 2006 Boeing 737-7H4 - cn 32515 ln 2062 by TDelCoro is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Now that people are flying more, not everything is smooth sailing.

Airlines report that passengers’ behavior has “declined” and have reported numerous violent, aggressive incidents that are happening more and more.

The simple fact is that people have gone a long time without flying; they now seem to be getting easily annoyed and upset when told what to do by flight attendants and others.

It could also be that after more than a year cooped up in a fear-driven pandemic, people’s psychological health is not at its absolute max.

The latest example comes from Southwest Airlines, where a woman went berserk on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego.

Swiss A330 by caribb is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What Happened?

According to Southwest, a 28-year-old woman called Vyvianna Quinonez became very angry when a flight attendant asked her to put on her seatbelt while the plane prepared for landing.

The attendant asked again and the woman “repeatedly ignored” the instructions. She then began swearing and reportedly became “verbally abusive” as they started landing in San Diego.

Unfortunately the confrontation did not just remain verbal, and the passenger started to hit the flight attendant, who lost two of her teeth and got a bloody face from the savage attack. 

San Diego police came to intercept the woman once the plane landed. Quinonez is accused of causing very significant injuries including the loss of teeth to the flight attendant, who hasn’t been named and was taken to a local San Diego hospital for treatment. 

Quinonez was arrested and charged with assault causing serious bodily injury. She claims she was acting in self-defense; however, an eyewitness who saw the attack said she was just asked to put on her seatbelt a couple of times and went berserk as a result. 

Part of a Growing Pattern

Unfortunately, as I said, this kind of violence is part of a growing pattern. Union leader Lyn Montgomery wrote to the Southwest CEO about their concerns. She noted that on Southwest Airlines (alone from April to mid-May), there have been a stunning 477 altercations and aggressive incidents – and that’s just the ones that have been serious enough to record!

As Montgomery wrote, there needs to be a “new level of firmness” onboard planes now to ensure these kind of incidents stop happening.

“The attitudes and behaviors of the flying public” have “declined,” Montgomery noted. 

As for Quinonez, she’s permanently banned from Southwest and won’t ever be flying with them again; she’ll also be going through the system to face the charges as she deserves. 

What do you think is behind the rise in angry and aggressive incidents onboard airplanes these days? Have people just been cooped up too long or is something else going on?