A woman who breached security at Mineta San Jose International Airport and somehow managed to board a Southwest flight to Los Angeles did not pose a security threat, authorities said Wednesday.
The woman – identified by Los Angeles International Airport police as 62-year-old Marilyn Hartman – somehow got past the boarding pass checkpoint in San Jose before passengers go through the Transportation Security Administration screening. She then allegedly went through the screening like everyone else.
From there, she allegedly got onto Southwest Flight 3785 that departed San Jose about 7:15 p.m. Monday and, about an hour later, landed at LAX, where she was arrested after Southwest employees realized she wasn’t supposed to be on the flight.
So far, all agencies involved in the breach say Hartman was never a public safety threat and that they are investigating the incident.
In a statement to The Times on Wednesday, Southwest Airlines said it was “actively investigating” the breach.
“Our number one 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.
According to the Transportation Safety Adminstration, Hartman was screened along with the rest of the airport’s passengers "to ensure that she was not a security threat to the aircraft."
An official with the agency told The Times the woman managed to sneak past the initial boarding pass checkpoint when a TSA agent was distracted.
Airport officials said in a statement that its security check processes 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."
Southwest could face regulatory fines in connection with Monday’s incident, a TSA official said.
Hartman was arrested at LAX on suspicion of trespassing and was jailed in lieu of $500 bail, officials said.
Hartman is banned from San Francisco International Airport after making at least three attempts to fly out of the airport without a ticket, CBS San Francisco reported. In one of those instances, she reportedly managed to make it on a plane but was found out when the passenger whose seat she was sitting in boarded the plane.
Hartman's case is the second time in four months a person has stowed away on a flight out of San Jose. In April, a teenager hopped an airport perimeter fence and stowed away in a jetliner's wheel well for a flight to Hawaii, where he was detained and hospitalized after surviving the high-altitude journey.
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