Serial stowaway finally gets her free flight

UPDATE: THURSDAY AUG 7: After her arrest and incarceration in LA on Monday, Hartman went BACK TO THE AIRPORT on Thursday, and was arrested again. Full story here. 

Original story here:

After six thwarted attempts at stowing away on planes bound for Hawaii, San Francisco’s now famous Marilyn Jean Hartmann has finally done it.

NBC Bay Area news is now reporting that Hartman breached TSA security, boarded a Southwest Airlines plane in San Jose on Monday night and flew to Los Angeles where she was arrested. KTVU is reporting that she made it through security and on to the plane without a ticket by sneaking behind a family.

NBC provides a bit of the woman’s background here:

The San Francisco woman has a history of trying to get on flights without a ticket. Three times in February, twice in March and at least once in April she attempted to board flights at SFO. At least twice she was able to breach Transportation Security Administration security and make her way into the boarding area.

The San Francisco Chronicle has uncovered new information that shows Hartman has been up to these antics since 2010, and has even blogged about it.

(Photo: San Francisco Police Dept)

Marilyn Jean Hartman, 62, finally got on a plane. (Photo: San Francisco Police Dept)

This is the second time this year that Mineta San Jose Airport has been in the news due to people successfully stowing away on planes there. As you may recall, a teenager breached airport perimeter security and hid in a wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane for an icy trip to Hawaii. 

The TSA made the following statement in light of this latest incident:

“Following an initial review by TSA at San Jose International Airport, the agency has initiated minor modifications to the layout of the document checking area to prevent another incident like this one.”

Hartman’s multiple attempts to stowaway on planes bound to Hawaii have landed her on probation and slapped with a court order to stay away from all airports unless she has a valid ticket. But the publicity around her attempts to fly  have also prompted Silicon Valley types to set up funding sites to help buy her a ticket to Hawaii. For example, a GoFundMe.com page has raised nearly $1,300 although it’s not clear how or if that money has been disbursed.

The San Jose Mercury News reported in May that Hartman would “spend two years in a mental health facility to receive treatment for major depressive disorder.” The paper went on to say that Hartman,

was determined to be suffering from a ‘major mental illness’ and deemed a suitable candidate for the residential mental health program, prosecutors said. She was sentenced to two years supervised probation and will remain under strict supervision in the program for the next two years.

Sounds like that strict supervision wasn’t enough to quash this lady’s wanderlust and stated desired to “go somewhere warm.”

In the last year, we’ve seen a teenager slip through airport fencing at San Jose International and hide in a wheel well for a flight to Hawaii. At SFO, a drunk business traveler masquerading as a TSA agent lured two unsuspecting travelers into a private booth for a pat down.

Now this.

This latest incident poses a LOT of questions about the state of airport security. It also provides plenty of fodder for jokes on late night talk shows. :)

What do YOU think about this situation?

Leave your comments below!

–Chris McGinnis

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  • HairyGuy

    sickle and hammer. tools of grim reaper and some soviet comrade guy.

  • Aaron Stambler

    I think the only thing the TSA should be concerned with is whether someone going through security has the potential to cause harm. Even that I think is an impossible goal, but if the TSA or any other security mechanism must exist then that should be its only goal. It is beyond my comprehension why the TSA should care whether or not someone has a plane ticket. That is the problem of the airline. In this case the woman stole a trip on a plane. Nothing more, nothing less. The TSA should consider this a successful outcome because no harm befell anyone and there is no reason to think this woman was more likely to cause harm than any other average Joe. The airline can pursue the case with the police in the same way a retail outlet can pursue a case of shoplifting.

  • dragonfly251

    Hackers end up getting hired to find online security gaps… perhaps someone should hire Ms Hartmann to find TSA gaps… sounds like she’s pretty good at this. Hmm… perhaps they already have and she’s working undercover for Homeland Security/NSA… they’ll clear her record later.

  • Jack Ellis

    These stowaways are newsworthy because they are extremely unusual. The fact that 40,000 people are killed in car accidents every year doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much. Instead of making. A huge deal out of this, we should be calibrating our expectations for what’s worth worrying about and what isn’t.

  • kingofbytes

    So this woman snuck in. That proves it’s not a major mental illness – she knows right from wrong. And did it anyway. Go figure.

  • Mitchell Teixeira

    I think that funding a trip to Hawaii for this woman is misguided. Why should we reward this type of behavior? … besides the fact that the TSA got a free and non-threatening “penetration test” of their security measures… and those measures obviously failed. :(

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    thanks chad, I’ll modify that sentence. — chris

  • ChadHorn

    That’s illegal for anyone to “order.” She was warned to not go to SFO without a ticket purchased. Two very different things…

  • Mr Epstein

    I read earlier that she was judicially ordered to not go to any airport. Yet not only did she blow off that request, she is actually better at her job than the superior court judge is at his/her job. Happy flying Hartman.

  • Joey

    Hopefully the mental health facility she will be assigned to is in Hawaii.

  • Global1st

    Hmn…so much for those TSA fees

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Fogust! Never heard it. Love it! Gonna use it! Thanks! — chris

  • http://www.janak.net Janak Parekh

    Let’s hope Ms. Hartmann gets the help she needs: amongst other things, why would this be a compelling argument in the Bay Area, where it never really gets cold? Well, except San Francisco in Fogust, but it’s an easy trip in a car, BART, or any other means of transportation to the rest of the Bay Area, which is having a perfectly warm summer. It’s pretty clear that her obsession is deeper than weather.

    That, and Hawaii has two tropical storms headed *straight* for it this week. I have a friend vacationing there, hope his trip isn’t washed out. :-(

  • http://www.travelskills.com/ Chris McGinnis

    Hey Asar: SW does not fly to Hawaii. She took Southwest SJC to LAX. See second line in post. — chris

  • asar

    when did southwest start flying to hawaii?

  • The Weekly Flyer

    Huh, why would someone fly Southwest when they could redeem Avios for an American Airlines flight?