According to the airline's website, children between the ages of 5 and 14 traveling without their guardian are required to use their unaccompanied minor service.
Monica Gilliam from Chattanooga, Tennessee blasted American Airlines (AA) for allegedly losing her child who was in their care. The mom claimed that the airline lost track of her 12-year-old daughter who was flying to Miami last Saturday as an unaccompanied minor to visit her father.
Detailing the incident on a TikTok video, Monica said, "Almost an hour after her flight landed, I got a call from American Airlines. It was the [AA] manager at Miami ... He says, 'Your child is missing. We've shut down the terminal. We don't know where she is.'"
Gilliam added, "It turns out that the flight attendants waved her off the plane and said 'bye.' And she said she didn't know what to do, so she kept going because they were telling her bye. So, she kept walking." The mother explained that her daughter, fortunately, found her father following this, without any help from the AA crew or Miami International Airport employees.
@relativelymonica The utter failure by @American Airlines ,#tsa and #mia ♬ original sound - relativelymonica
In a statement to PEOPLE, the airline emphasized that it "cares deeply about our young passengers" and that they are "committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them" despite the recent incident. "We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what occurred. A member of our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience," it added.
According to the airline's website, children between the ages of 5 and 14 traveling without their guardian are required to use their unaccompanied minor service. This particular service includes "an airport escort to help your child to the gate for flight connections" and "escorting the child to the authorized adult picking them up when they land."
Gilliam went on to explain that the service requires children to wear an unaccompanied minor tag on a necklace along with the boarding pass and information of the adult who would be picking them up so the airport crew can verify their identity.
"So, she [was] going through the airport with that billboard on her that she was an unaccompanied minor in one of the largest human trafficking hubs in the country," Gilliam raged on. The girl was ultimately able to get a hold of her father and tell him that her flight had landed earlier than its scheduled time.
Her father, who was trying to get a gate pass, then talked the girl through the signs "to get her to him as safely and as quickly as possible." While concluding the video, she said, "I don't want this to happen to anybody else, and if your child is flying an unaccompanied flight with American Airlines, then consider that. It's not OK, and it shouldn't happen."
Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | Good Morning America