Having to send your kid off to take a flight all by themselves can be a stressful act, especially considering you can never be too sure about what is going to happen 30,000 feet in the air. That’s why we think EVERY parent of a solo traveler should hear this family’s cautionary tale of just how wrong a plane ride can go. This story may lead to a decision that keeps your child safer!
In June of 2016, 13-year-old Mackenzie Miller of Portland boarded a plane from Dallas back to her home in the Northwest. Her parents had booked the flight according to American Airlines’ protocols; since she was underage, she was given an “unaccompanied minor ticket,” which is made available to children aged 5 to 14.
With well-spoken Mackenzie right at the top of the age range, we can’t help but assume that her folks did not think they had much to worry about when they originally bought the ticket. Nevertheless, a horrifying situation ended up transpiring—neglect, on the cabin crews’ part, allowed for a predator to move in on the girl.
Mackenzie was seated next to a 26-year-old man by the name of Chad Camp. Almost immediately after the plane took off, he started to grope her. It took flight attendants an astounding 30 MINUTES to finally notice what was going on.
Once the plane landed, American Airlines notified the police, who then immediately arrested and charged the man with abusive sexual contact. He has pleaded “not guilty,” but, in the meantime, the Miller family filed a $10 million lawsuit against the airline.the company’s website, an unaccompanied minor ticket has a steep cost. At $150 each way, American Airlines promises that the “child is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination.”
But, interestingly enough, there seems to be quite a big caveat here. The airline goes on to explain that “flight attendants cannot continuously monitor an unaccompanied minor during their flight.” Pretty scary stuff considering that kindergartners are granted these tickets!
Mackenzie’s mom Rachel asserts that her daughter experienced this horrific abuse simply because the molester saw an open opportunity. “He was able to touch her; he was able to do basically whatever he wanted,” the mother says.
The girl says she “can’t believe this happened” to her, but, sadly it seems that she is far from alone. In just the past five years, more than 244 complaints involving unaccompanied minors have been filed. From airlines literally misplacing kids to allegations of harassment, it seems that these carriers truly have been dropping the ball.
So, our friends at Inside Edition decided to do an experiment in order to see just how attentive these airlines are to minors. To watch this undercover exposé, be sure to click on the video below. The whole thing may just make you think twice about letting your little one fly alone!
What do you think about Mackenzie’s ordeal? Has your family endured something similar? Do you allow your children to fly as unaccompanied minors? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!