The shocking incident took place just after a flight from Sacramento touched down in San Diego on Sunday.
It started when the anonymous flight attendant confronted passenger Vyvianna Quinonez, 28, and other family members about putting their face masks back on, Fox40 news station reported.
“It was so unnecessary. During the first altercation, she said she was going to call the captain, ”said passenger Michelle Manner, who was seated two rows in front of them.
“And she should have stayed there in her back cabin, but she came back yelling at them again.”
The altercation then escalated from there.
“Vyvianna had told him three times that we could hear, ‘Let go of me. Stop touching me. Let go of my hand, ”Manner told the news channel.
Manner recorded the remainder of the encounter in which Quinonez punched the flight attendant before another passenger intervened.
“The flight attendant continued to scream. And I mean she was screaming. We’ve come to the point, where we are, should we start filming this? Manner said.
“She was very unprofessional. Very rude, about the way she handled anything, ”she added of the flight attendant.
A spokesperson for the Southwest, however, said the incident occurred when the passenger “repeatedly ignored standard flight instructions and became verbally and physically abusive on landing.”
Quinonez was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. She was released from prison on $ 35,000 bail, CBS8 reported.
Contacted for comment, she said she had acted in self-defense and would not speak further about the incident without the presence of a lawyer, the outlet reported.
The flight attendant, who has not been identified, was treated in a hospital and released.
Lyn Montgomery, president of the Southwest Flight Attendants Union, said the employee was recovering.
“She is recovering, I am giving her privacy to recover and overcome the shock of this happening,” Montgomery told CBS8.
In his letter to CEO Gary Kelly on Sunday, Montgomery said the incident was one of hundreds of unruly passengers.
“The unprecedented number of incidents has reached an intolerable level, with passenger non-compliance events also becoming more aggressive in nature,” the union boss wrote.