Georgia mom swears off American Airlines after her unaccompanied 12-year-old daughter goes missing

Georgia mom swears off American Airlines after her unaccompanied 12-year-old daughter goes missing 2
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A Georgia mom has slammed American Airlines for losing her 12-year-old daughter when she flew alone from Tennessee to Miami.

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Monica Gilliam, 39, a photography professor, blasted the airline after Kimber was not escorted off the plane and disappeared.

The youngster had been flying solo from Chattanooga to Miami last week to see her father for a three-week trip.

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Her mother had forked out an extra $150 for her to be chaperoned through both airports and wear a badge information cabin crew she was not with an adult.

But when she got off the aircraft they simply smiled and waved at her and let her wander around the airport before finally being found by her dad.

It came amid general chaos at airports across the US, with hundreds of flights canceled and thousands delayed over the July 4 holiday.

The weekend marked the busiest travel period since the pandemic began as nearly 50million took to the skies, roads and rails to see loved ones.

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Mayhem continued this week as nearly 100 flights into, out and around the country were cancelled and 245 were delayed.

Meanwhile the Biden administration looked to invest $1billion annually for the next five years for improvements at 85 airports across the US.

The $5 billion will go toward several projects – including air traffic control towers, terminals, security checkpoints and baggage inspection and screening areas.

Georgia mom, Monica Gilliam, 39, said she's furious with American Airlines for letting her 12-year-old daughter wander unattended in Miami International Airport

Daughter Kimber, pictured here, kept walking after flight attendants waved her off the plan in Miami

Monica Gilliam, left, took to TikTok to vent about a call that she got from American Airlines telling her that her daughter was ‘lost’ in Miami airport

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A representative from American Airlines told Gilliam that they shut down Miami airport looking for her 12-year-old daughter who they had lost sight of

A representative from American Airlines told Gilliam that they shut down Miami airport looking for her 12-year-old daughter who they had lost sight of

Flight chaos continued across the United States this week, with Friday's misery map from Flight Aware pictured

Flight chaos continued across the United States this week, with Friday’s misery map from Flight Aware pictured

Delays and cancelations continued to rip across the country on Friday, with Atlanta the worst hit

Delays and cancelations continued to rip across the country on Friday, with Atlanta the worst hit

What SHOULD customers get for American Airlines’ $150 unaccompanied minors policy?

American Airlines’ ‘unaccompanied minors’ policy says those aged five to 14 have to use their service. It says those aged between 15 and 17 can use it but it is optional. 

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The system costs $150 to use each way on top of the ticket price and there is a further charge for siblings flying together.

Its website says it includes: ‘Early boarding to allow extra time to get settled and meet the flight attendants.

‘Kids-only lounges in our hub cities for flight connections Complimentary Kids’ Kits from Quaker with snacks and activities (for ages 5 – 10, in hub cities).

‘An airport escort to help your child to the gate for flight connections Escorting the child to the authorized adult picking them up when they land.

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‘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.’

Gilliam said: ‘It’s not OK and it shouldn’t happen. Almost an hour after her flight landed, I got a call from American Airlines.

‘It was the American Airlines manager at Miami and he says ‘your child is missing, we’ve shut down the terminal, we don’t know where she is.’

The child’s flight had landed early and instead of an escort she was ushered off the plane with a wave from the flight attendants, Gilliam said.

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She continued: ‘It turns out that the flight attendants waved her off the plane and said ‘bye’ and she didn’t know what to do so she kept going because they were telling her ‘bye’ so she kept walking.’

The child wandered through the terminal, an image that shook Gilliam to her core.

‘So she’s 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,’ she said on TikTok.

The child was able to get in touch with her father and he talked her through the airport until they met up without further drama.

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‘On the way out, no American Airlines employees stopped her to see if she had an adult, not one Miami airport employee stopped her and even the TSA security agent-before she left the secure area into baggage claim-stopped her.’

American Airlines’ ‘unaccompanied minors’ policy says those aged five to 14 have to use their service. It says those aged between 15 and 17 can use it but it is optional. 

The system costs $150 to use each way on top of the ticket price and there is a further charge for siblings flying together.

Monica Gilliam feared that her daughter was wandering unattended in what she called 'the largest human trafficking hubs in the country'

Monica Gilliam feared that her daughter was wandering unattended in what she called ‘the largest human trafficking hubs in the country’

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Georgia mom swears off American Airlines after her unaccompanied 12-year-old daughter goes missing 3

Flight cancelation Q&A: Why are airlines slashing so many flights and what is being done to fix it? 

Why are there so many delays and attempts by the airlines to cancel and delay flights? 

The airlines are increasingly trying to blame delays on understaffing at the Federal Aviation Administration, which manages the nation’s airspace and hires air-traffic controllers. 

The FAA has admitted it’s understaffed, especially in an important air control center in Florida, which has meant a decrease in the quality of service and an increase in delays and cancelations. 

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Problems were popping up well before the weekend, with some disruptions caused by thunderstorms that slowed air traffic.

Why are airlines cutting flights? 

Many of them, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, have trimmed summer schedules to reduce stress on their operations. They are using larger planes, on average, to carry more passengers with the same number of pilots. Those steps haven’t been enough so far this summer. 

Are the pilots striking? 

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The pilots are not striking. Federal law creates a long and difficult process before airline workers can legally go on strike. The pilots are still walking picket lines while remaining on the job at various airports. The pilots plan to picket, not strike, on the days they’re not scheduled to work in order to bring attention to the issues. 

Why are pilots attempting to picket?

Pilots have complained that thinly staffed airlines are asking them to work too many flights, with more pilots reporting fatigue. The Air Line Pilots Association claimed earlier this week its nearly 14,000 members are working longer hours even as airlines cancel thousands of trips. 

What have officials proposed to potentially fix this or punish the airlines? 

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The Biden administration is blaming the airlines, saying it received billions in stimulus money to keep them afloat during the pandemic and should stick to the schedule it publishes. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier this month that airlines had until July 4 to figure out the issues and work out the kinks so travelers can have a smooth summer holiday. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to Buttigieg demanding he fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancellation they know can’t be fully staffed. Congressional leaders are demanding the airlines provide answers as to why there continues to be disruptions, especially since the industry received $50 billion in relief during the pandemic in an effort to keep business afloat.

Its website says it includes: ‘Early boarding to allow extra time to get settled and meet the flight attendants.

‘Kids-only lounges in our hub cities for flight connections Complimentary Kids’ Kits from Quaker with snacks and activities (for ages 5 – 10, in hub cities).

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‘An airport escort to help your child to the gate for flight connections Escorting the child to the authorized adult picking them up when they land.

‘Keep in mind, our flight attendants will be busy with onboard duties and can’t continuously monitor your child during their flight.

It adds: ‘Let your child know to ring the call button if they need anything.’

Flyers across the US were hit by a slew of cancelations and delays that caused pandemonium across the country over the last week.

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Around 48 million people traveled over the weekend, with AAA estimating 3.5million were to take to the air.

But the actual number of passengers flying may have been dramatically higher as experts screened more than 2.4 million travelers at airports on Thursday alone.

But many fliers faced disappointment, with 604 flights canceled by lunchtime last Saturday and 2,879 delayed.

Since the hectic Juneteenth travel weekend, the US has seen more than 12,000 flights cancelled, according to Flight Aware.

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In addition to airport chaos and heavy traffic, holiday travelers will have to contend with higher prices.

Average gas prices have soared 56 percent from a year ago, mid-range hotel prices have increased 23 percent, and average lowest airfares are up 14 percent.

The Biden administration is blaming the airlines, saying it received billions to keep afloat during the pandemic and should stick to the schedule it publishes.

Buttigieg said earlier this month airlines had until July 4 to figure out the issues and work out the kinks so travelers can have a smooth summer holiday.

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The airlines are increasingly trying to blame delays on understaffing at the FAA, which manages the nation’s airspace and hires air-traffic controllers.

The FAA admitted it is understaffed, especially in an important air control center in Florida, which has meant a decrease in the quality of service and delays.

Problems were popping up well before the weekend, with some disruptions caused by thunderstorms that slowed air traffic.

Many airlines, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, trimmed summer schedules to reduce stress on their operations.

Advertisement

They are using larger planes, on average, to carry more passengers with the same number of pilots. Those steps haven’t been enough so far this summer.

American Airlines said it was investigating the incident involving Gilliam and her daughter.

A spokesman said: ‘American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them,’ according to the airline’s statement.

‘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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