Bad behaviour by airlines has been making headlines a lot lately. But this has to be the most heartbreaking story.

A woman is reportedly suing American Airlines for $10 million after they checked in her carry-on luggage against her will and then lost it - along with her dead daughter's ashes which were inside.

Iddy Pierre-Canel was flying back to Tucson, Arizona, from Baltimore, Maryland, after her daughter's, Carm-Idrelle Casseus, funeral and cremation on March 5, NBC's 12 News reports.

According to Pierre-Canel's lawyer, Lorraine Morey, an American Airlines employee insisted twice that Ms Pierre-Canel check in her bag while waiting at the gate, however, she made it clear she was carrying her daughter's ashes.

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She then allegedly remembers an employee picking her bags up, but she said she was under the impression they were helping her take the bags to her seat since she was distraught and had been crying.

"When the plane took off, that's when I realised I didn't have my bag," Pierre-Canel told 12 News.

"They said, ' Oh, they checked your bag in.'"

Morey said her client was then promised her bags would be the first off the plane.

But a spokesman for American Airlines insists the airline staff were not aware of the luggage's contents.

"Had we known there were cremated ashes in the bag, we would have had her remove them or found a place for the bag," the airline said in a statement to 12 News.

"We apologised for losing the items and certainly are very sorry for her terrible loss."

The airline also claimed that the urn was not included on an itemised list of what was in the bag. There was an estimated $24,000 worth of belongings in the suitcase, but no urn was mentioned.

Morey said the urn was not included because there was no way to assign a dollar value to her daughter's remains, but there is an extensive email train showing the main concern was for that urn.

Nineteen days after American Airlines lost the luggage, they found the bag and returned it to Pierre-Canel.

"I went through it. I was screaming. I was hurt. I wanted to die, because I felt that I failed my child," she said.

"You understand? I failed her, because my child did not die just once. I lost her twice."

She said her daughter's wish was to have her ashes "spread across the sea in Hawaii, the South of France, off the coast of Venice, Italy and off the coast of Australia."

According to 12 News, Pierre-Canel is currently involved in another lawsuit with Boston Mutual Life Insurance, but she is defending herself against allegations of fraud.

Morey does not represent her in the life insurance lawsuit but said her client has nothing to hide.