Everyone has their hobbies, the things they’re good at. Some take up a sport, others knit or read. Marilyn Hartman, age 66, has a hobby unlike any other; she sneaks on airplanes. No, that was not a typo. Marilyn sneaks past the TSA and onto a free ride to her next adventure. At first glance, it seems pretty cool. Flights are expensive, and TSA lines are infuriating. With a second glance, “cool” switches to terrifying pretty fast. If this rock and roll old lady is passing security without any issues, it’s safe to say many others can do the same.
Marilyn got caught in the act. Police stopped her multiple times in airports all over the USA. She boarded quite a few aircrafts without tickets. Her stunts earned her the name “Serial Stowaway.” She hitched rides to Jacksonville, Florida, LA, and even London.
The 66-year-old woman was arrested in Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare International. Hartman received an official ban from Florida and Chicago airports, but that didn’t stop her from “doing her thang.” She just couldn’t stay away. Days after receiving her ban police found and arrested her in terminal 3 at the Chicago airport. Hartman tried to hop on yet another flight. The judge ordered her to be held without bond. Her charges include criminal trespassing and violating the terms of her previous bail.
Hartman claims she boarded about eight flights without a ticket in 2015. In that year, she was arrested at LAX after she snuck past the TSA agents in San Jose, California and managed to board on a Southwest flight. Her most significant success was getting a free trip to London. Hartman apparently used some ninja-like skill when she passed British Airways ticket staff, as well as a Customs and Border Patrol officer to get on the London flight. Hartman found an empty seat and enjoyed the free trip that would typically cost around $2,400.
When asked how she was able to pull such a stun, Hartman replied, “I’m an old white lady. Nobody stops me. A policy advisor for the Cook County sheriff’s office met Hartman and claims that the “serial stowaway” is in desperate need of mental health support. Indeed, this advisor was right.
Marilyn has a history of mental health issues. She checked into several homeless shelters and mental health facilities in the past. She will be held in jail until her next hearing where the judge will decide on a ruling that considers Marilyn’s mental health issues.
As for the TSA, they’ve got some explaining to do. Airport safety is a major concern to travelers. The TSA stepped up their game after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Lines are longer, security is stricter, and its a pain, but a pain that is supposed to be worth it. The fact that a 66-year-old woman can almost effortlessly school them is very concerning, to say the least. TSA officials said they’re taking a close look at what went down each time Hartman walked right through all the security checks. They hope to patch up the holes in the system to create an even safer air-travel environment.