A woman who snuck past two airport security checkpoints in San Jose and boarded a
Marilyn Hartman, 62, was charged with a misdemeanor count of entering the city as a stowaway. After pleading no contest in court Wednesday, she was ordered to serve 24 months of summary probation, according to Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney's office.
She also must stay away from
Outside the courtroom, Hartman told KTLA-TV that she didn't want to detail how she managed to stow away on the flight, lest she help "the enemy," presumably referring to potential terrorists.
"I am first and foremost an American and I am very strongly proud of my country, so I don't want to do anything to jeopardize security," she told the station.
Hartman has a history of making stowaway attempts in the Bay Area. At least three times this year she has tried to bypass security at San Francisco International Airport to get on a plane – successfully accomplishing it once – and three other times attempted to spend time at the airport after she was banned, CBS San Francisco reported.
The Southwest flight she boarded Monday night departed from Mineta San Jose International Airport.
But after her latest arrest and spending a couple of days in jail, Hartman told reporters she had learned her lesson.
"I want to go with a paid ticket … I want to do everything legal," she told reporters. "It was clearly wrong on my part … It was stupid and it is something I don't want to repeat."
Hartman added that she would probably take the bus home.
The incident has raised new questions about security procedures at the San Jose airport, where in April a teenage boy hopped a fence and stowed away in a jetliner's wheel well and survived a 5½-hour flight to Hawaii.
According to officials, Hartman somehow got past the boarding pass checkpoint operated by the
From there, she got onto Southwest Flight 3785 that departed San Jose about 7:15 p.m. and, about an hour later, landed at LAX, where she was caught.
In a statement to The Times on Wednesday, Southwest said it was "actively investigating" the breach.
"Our No. 1 priority remains the safety and security of our customers and employees," the airline said.
The airline declined to release more details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation, but it did acknowledge that its employees are the final barrier before a person boards a plane.
The agent who missed checking Hartman's boarding pass may have been distracted, a TSA official said. Southwest declined to say how Hartman then managed to board the plane, though an airline employee at the top of the gate checks tickets against the plane's manifest.
A TSA official said the airline could face fines for the breach.
San Jose airport officials said in a statement that its security procedures were not a factor in the breach and that public safety was "never compromised."
After an initial review, the TSA said it has initiated "minor modifications to the layout of the document checking area."
Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.