MIAMI, Fla. (NewsNation) — A mother in Chattanooga, Tennessee, received a terrifying call after she sent her 12-year-old daughter alone on an American Airlines flight to visit her father in Miami, Florida.
Monica Gillman signed her daughter up as an unaccompanied minor, dropped her daughter off at the American Airlines gate in Chattanooga and was assured her daughter would be taken care of until her father picked her up at the gate in Miami.
But that never happened.
“I got a call from American Airlines. It was the manager in Miami with American Airlines and he says, ‘Your child is missing. We’ve shut down the terminal. We don’t know where she is,'” Gillman explained.
Gillman said that the flight attendants waved her daughter off the plane and said “bye.”
“She didn’t know what to do. So she kept going because they were telling her ‘bye.’ So she kept walking,” Gillman said.
Gilliam paid an extra $150 to have her daughter escorted by an American Airlines official for the entire trip.
Instead, her daughter walked around alone at Miami International Airport for over an hour.
“So, she, 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,” Gillman explained.
She says her daughter was eventually found by her father inside the airport, “He finally got her there but on the way out, not one American Airlines in employee stopped her to see if she had an adult.”
American Airlines sent NewsNation a statement:
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them. 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.”
Gillman told NewsNation that the airline has reached out to her and has offered her numerous flights, limousine services and VIP access so that they feel more comfortable, but she said she and her daughter are still upset and traumatized about the whole situation.
Instead of flying back, Gillman said they are going to be driving back the 12 hours to Chattanooga because they don’t want to get on another flight.