A 12-year-old girl traveling alone on a Miami-bound American Airlines flight was allegedly left to fend for herself after deplaning.
This is according to Inside Edition, which spoke to the parents and American.
American Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Allegedly Left Alone in Miami
IE reports the youngster, named Kimber, traveled from her mother’s hometown airport in Chattanooga, TN, to Miami, so she could visit her dad. (It appears Kimber would’ve had to make a connection, probably in Charlotte.) Kimber wore a credential so she could be easily identified as an unaccompanied minor. (It was so large her mother, Monica Gillam, called it “a billboard.”)
But when the girl deplaned in Miami, a flight attendant allegedly waved goodbye and allowed her to simply walk off into the terminal.
Ms. Gillam says she received a call from American an hour later and a person told her that Kimber couldn’t be found anywhere.
In addition to her child missing, Ms. Gillam worried about her daughter falling prey to human trafficking. (The Women’s Fund Miami says the city is Florida’s number one hotbed for human trafficking. And Florida is the country’s third-highest state for the crime.)
Can you imagine the horror?
The flight apparently landed early — and Kimber’s dad was just pulling up to the airport when his daughter was already off the plane. (My man: set tracking alerts for important flights! Although, maybe her dad did and was stuck in traffic. Who knows?)
So, Kimber apparently texted her dad. The dad FaceTimed her and helped her navigate her way through the airport, where they met at baggage claim. Whew.
IE says American sent the media outlet “a statement saying they take these matters very seriously and are investigating. They say they reached out to the family to find out more about what happened.”
Ms. Gillam says a flight attendant was suspended. (Paging AFPA?)
I Have Questions
Okay. Something doesn’t add up here. This could all be a terrible mistake on American’s part. Maybe I’m overthinking it. But a few questions come to mind.
- Did the girl remove her unaccompanied minor credential before deplaning? Or tuck it into her shirt or a jacket? Therefore, she wouldn’t have been easily identifiable as an unaccompanied minor. I’m not saying this happened. A flight attendant could’ve accidentally overlooked the “billboard” around the girl’s neck.
- Was the flight attendant really waving “goodbye”? Or was she making another gesture that was confused for “goodbye”?
- Why didn’t Kimber wait for the flight attendant? Because of her apparent connection at another airport, she probably knows someone needs to escort her after the flight, right? Or did she — and the flight attendant bolted?
- I understand she arrived at her final destination. But did her parents impress upon her that someone would escort her to meet her dad at the gate or other designated point? And she should wait on the plane until someone escorts her? Again: maybe she did and someone royally dropped the ball.
- Why didn’t she ask an airline or airport employee or airport police officer for help? (Perhaps she did.)
- If she had the large credential around her neck and was walking around by herself, how did she go unnoticed by so many airport personnel who should know that an unaccompanied minor walking by themselves might, you know, seem a little odd?
Airline or airport employees: I’d love to get your take and insight into a situation like this. Please drop a note in the below Comments section.
You can watch the report here or in the media player below.
American Airlines allegedly lost an unaccompanied minor traveling to Miami. There was a happy ending in the long run (at least, for the family). But I think there are still some questions. I’m curious when or if we’ll get some answers.
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