Monica Gilliam’s daughter Kimber flew aboard an American Airlines flight from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Miami, Florida last Saturday to visit her father. She said the airline allowed Kimber to step off the plane on her own.
“The American Airlines manager called and said, ‘Your child is missing,'” Gilliam said. “I was like, ‘How did you lose my child? How do you lose an unaccompanied minor?'”
Gilliam said her daughter “felt like she had to get up” as passengers got off the plane, and told her mother that one flight attendant even waved goodbye.
The US has no federal regulation on unaccompanied minor surveillance, but according to AA policy, “employees will board the child early” and “escort them off the plane to meet their guardian at the gate.”
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Kimber’s father used FaceTime to help the 12-year-old navigate the airport to meet him at baggage claim, Gilliam said.
“She was nervous and she was scared,” Gilliam said. “But she did exactly what her father told her to do to keep her safe.”
In a statement to ABC News, American Airlines said it “cares deeply about its young passengers” and is “committed to providing them with a safe and enjoyable travel experience.” The airline added that it took the incident “very seriously” and was “investigating what happened”.
Parents should make sure kids are prepared before traveling alone, said Emily Kaufman, travel expert and founder of The Travel Mom.
“Tell them the schedule on the plane, get off the plane, and if they need anything, they can ask the flight attendants,” Kaufman said.
She also advised parents to give their children lists of important contacts to keep in their bags and carry-ons. They may also consider using trackers like Apple’s Find My and should monitor their children’s flights in case of early or late arrivals.
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https://abc13.com/12-year-old-missing-after-flight-american-airlines-unaccompanied-minor-fights/12031939/ Mom says 12-year-old daughter went missing while traveling on American Airlines flight as an unaccompanied minor