A mum has hit out at American Airlines for allegedly “losing” her 12-year-old daughter.
Monica Gilliam claims the airline failed her and her daughter last week after the child flew from Tennessee to Miami for a three-week holiday with her dad.
In an emotional TikTok, the 39-year-old mum explained that because she was flying solo, she paid an extra USD$150 (A$218) to make sure the 12-year-old would be escorted directly to her father under the “unaccompanied minors” program.
Her daughter was given a lanyard to wear with all of her information and allowed to board the flight first, Ms Gilliam, who stayed until the plane took off, said.
“Almost an hour after her flight landed, I got a call from American Airlines. It was the manager in Miami — the American Airlines manager — and he says, ‘Your child is missing. We’ve shut down the terminal. We don’t know where she is’,” Ms Gilliam tearfully recalled.
The mum claimed her daughter had disappeared after deplaning and being ushered along with a wave from flight attendants.
“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,” she said.
Ms Gilliam said the young girl was finally able to get a hold of her dad, who directed her to his location so she could “get there as quickly and as safely as possible”.
“I was so grateful that she is safe," she said.
"But this could have ended really, really badly."
American Airlines requires all children aged between five and 14 who are travelling alone to use the “unaccompanied minor” service, which includes “escorting the child to the authorised adult picking them up when they land”, according to its website.
“Keep in mind, our flight attendants will be busy with onboard duties and can’t continuously monitor your child during their flight. Let your child know to ring the call button if they need anything,” it also reads.
A spokesperson for the airline told Yahoo News Australia it is investigating the incident.
"American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them," they said.
"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."
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