Serial stowaway caught twice at LAX sentenced to jail

Marilyn Hartman, who was ordered to serve 24 months’ probation after pleading no contest to stowing away on an airplane, has again been arrested at LAX.

A woman who stowed away on a flight to Los Angeles International Airport, was arrested when the plane landed, and was then banned from the location only to be caught there a day later was sentenced Wednesday to nearly six months in jail.

Marilyn Hartman, 62, pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating her probation -- all 24 hours of it -- and was sentenced to 177 days in jail, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said.

The sentencing closes the book -- at least for now -- on Hartman’s escapades. She moved from place to place and dabbled in sneaking by airport, airline and Transportation Security Administration checkpoints to board jetliners without a ticket.

Though Hartman garnered national headlines last week after arriving at LAX on a Southwest flight from San Jose without a boarding pass, it turned out that Bay Area authorities had been aware of her for the better part of the year.


According to San Mateo County court records and news reports, Hartman had made at least half a dozen attempts to fly out of San Francisco International Airport without a ticket. Twice she was stopped before boarding a plane but on the third attempt, she made it aboard. Only when a passenger pointed out she was in that person’s seat was she caught and arrested.

Hartman was given a short jail stint and ordered to stay away from the San Francisco Airport if she didn’t have a ticket, but that didn’t stop her. Police arrested her three more times on airport property.

Then last week, officials say, Hartman appeared in the document check line, where a TSA agent matches people’s IDs to their boarding passes, at San Jose International Airport. Somehow, Hartman slinked past and proceeded through the security screening with other passengers.

Hartman then walked past a Southwest airline employee that checks boarding passes against the plane’s manifest and boarded the flight. A TSA official said the airline will likely face fines for its oversight.

Southwest employees didn’t know anything was amiss until the flight landed in Los Angeles, and they conducted a headcount of the deboarding passengers and noticed they were one off. The airline alerted airport police, and Hartman was arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Hartman pleaded guilty Aug. 6. She was given 24 months probation and ordered to stay away from LAX if she didn’t have a ticket. She told reporters she was going to follow the law and was going to take a bus home.

But a day later, Hartman was back at LAX. Police tracked her from Union Station to the airport and watched her meander about the property for hours before arresting her. They said she never had any intention of buying a ticket to fly.

“She is clever and she is very persistent.... She is fixated on flying,” LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon told The Times last week. “It’s a big deal when anyone tries to avoid security, be it a 62-year-old grandmother or a 24-year-old terrorist.”


Despite her success at San Jose’s airport, it remains the only one of the three where Hartman’s been spotted but not banned, authorities said.

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