Marilyn Hartman, who has become a folk hero for slipping past TSA checkpoints and onto airplanes undetected, has struck again. This time she not only bypassed security at Chicago O’Hare, but managed to sneak onto a British Airways flight and fly to London.
This is her first (known attempt) since 2016, when she was arrested and sentenced to two years of probation and confined to a mental health facility in Illinois for trying to sneak onto the secure side of Chicago O’Hare. In the past, she has successfully boarded flights from Minneapolis and San Jose, CA without valid tickets.
How Does She Do It?
The TSA may be incompetent and airport gates understaffed, but how does someone just slip by?
The 66-year-old most likely went through security…but since she does not carry ID with her she obviously found a way to slip past the initial boarding pass/ID check and only went through screening. I can see how this happened: take a place like O’Hare where you have an area that has two or three TSA agents checking ID. She goes around one like she is going to the other and just keeps walking. On a busy day, that is definitely doable.
She and any personal belongings still had to be screened, but boarding passes or IDs are not checked again.
Then onto a flight to London. How is that possible, especially when there are passport checks during boarding? I surmise she simply boarded in the usual gaggle, but sidestepped the agent scanning boarding passes and perhaps got away with it because she appeared to be an innocent-looking senior citizen.
While airlines often checking boarding passes at the boarding door, it is usually just to know which aisle you should be directed down. Often times, verbally stating your seat assignment replaces the need for a FA to actually inspect your boarding pass.
Hartman allegedly hid in a lavatory until after the aircraft door was closed, then just took an open seat. An accurate head count could have prevented her from even taking off.
Is She Crazy?
I get that Hartman never has a ticket or boarding pass…I think that gives her a thrill. But no passport? It’s almost as if she wants to get caught…
And I think that is exactly the point.
Hartman claimed that people — airport security, public transit passengers, jail inmates, President Obama — have all conspired to compel her to sneak onto planes in an elaborate attempt to punish her, and then allow her to escape lengthy prison sentences so she can do it all over again, and again.
Harman adds, “They just hope I kill myself or act out against society.”
And that makes me conclude she is crazy. I hope she will get the help she needs and find peace.
Every Hartman incident is entertaining, but I wouldn’t be too worried about safety. It’s not like she wasn’t screened before boarding her flight to London.
image: Chicago Police Department