Skip to content

'Serial Stowaway' Arrested Again After Flying to London Without a Ticket

Jan. 20, 2018
3 min read
'Serial Stowaway' Arrested Again After Flying to London Without a Ticket
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A 66-year old woman with a history of sneaking past security and onto airplanes managed to make it from Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR) on a British Airways flight last week without a ticket, boarding pass or passport.

According to CBS Chicago, Marilyn Hartman, a woman who has been arrested dozens of times over the last several years for entering restricted areas in airports and flying without a ticket, managed to slip past a checkpoint at domestic Terminal 3 at O'Hare, then spent two days wandering around the airport unquestioned before making her way to international Terminal 5 and boarding a Sunday afternoon British Airways flight to Heathrow.

Hartman reportedly made her way past a gate agent, hid in the airplane's bathroom until after takeoff, then found an empty seat for the trip to England. Upon arriving in London without a passport, Hartman was sent back to O'Hare and arrested on Thursday.

Marilyn Hartman, the "serial stowaway," has successfully boarded multiple flights without a ticket. Photo: Chicago police.

According to a 2015 profile of the serial stowaway in SFGate, Hartman — whose original name was Marilyn Stall — first came onto the radar of authorities in 2009 when she attempted to fly from Hawaii using another woman's identity. Since then, Hartman has had run-ins at airports in California, Arizona, Florida, the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota. She is often caught in the process of attempting to board planes or bypass security, but she has also managed to successfully travel on flights.

In August 2014, Hartman flew on a Southwest flight from San Jose (SJC) to Los Angeles (LAX) without a ticket, only to get arrested upon her arrival in LA. In early 2015 she made it from Minnesota to Jacksonville (JAX), then checked into a hotel under another person's name. Then in the summer of 2015, she was arrested at O'Hare less than 24 hours after having been released from jail for attempts to get past security at the Chicago area airports.

Hartman, a transient who has been in several mental health facilities, often provides far fetched explanations for her exploits, including the idea that authorities conspire to allow her to board airplanes so that she can then be arrested. However, previous news reports note that her most successful tactic appears to be blending in with large groups to avoid being noticed.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A statement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that, “This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation and TSA is working closely with our law enforcement and airline partners in that effort." Hartman is charged with one misdemeanor count of criminal trespassing and one felony count of theft. She will be arraigned on Tuesday.

H/T: Chicago Tribune via TPG reader Richard S.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers