Chicago, IL

Secrets of a serial stowaway

Adrian Holman

If you took a flight over the Easter weekend to see your friends and family, then you might have unknowingly been sitting next to Chicagoan Marilyn Hartman. She is famously known as the "Serial Stowaway." Over the past twenty years, she has been able to evade Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel at O'Hare and Midway Airports in the Windy City.

The TSA was created within the United States of America as a response to what occurred on 9/11/01 in order to prevent hijackers from ever reaching a plane ever again by screening passengers at airport terminals. However, Hartman has been able to go through all of the security checkpoints multiple times without ever being stopped.

She has seen the entire world without ever buying a ticket from a travel agent. Although she is in her 60's, she is spry enough to have sneaked on to over thirty flights since 2002. The first time that she was actually caught by security personnel was in 2014.

Here are some of the best places on her itinerary that she has travelled round-trip without ever being corralled by the authorities. Plus, she never bought a ticket and nobody ever checked for her identification.

- Her very first trip was to Copenhagen, Denmark in 2002.

- She loved that trip so much that she was able to sneak on to another plane in 2002 to first go to Atlanta and then hopped on another flight to go to Paris.

- In 2005, her itch for her adventure led her to head to the East Coast again with a couple of trips during the year to Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA.

- In 2008, she went for the gusto and went to Maui. She figured out how to travel to Hawaii for free when there are so many people that work for their entire lives in order to save enough money in order to go to Hawaii as a retirement goal.

- In 2011, she topped the Hawaii trip by going to Seattle and to Anchorage. The fact that she was not caught flying to Alaska when less flights are available is remarkable.

- She liked the West Coast so much that she flew out to San Francisco in 2012.

- Her first brush with the law was in 2014 was when she first went to San Jose. Then, she was caught after taking a flight from San Jose to Los Angeles. After she was apprehended and released in Los Angeles, she then snuck on to a flight to San Diego. After seeing the sights in California, she flew to Phoenix. Next, she switched up her mode of transportation and rode a bus to Albuquerque, NM. After visiting Albuquerque, she went back to her normal mode of travel and took another flight to Minneapolis.

- She was arrested again in 2015 when she reached Jacksonville on another stowaway flight. Finally, law enforcement placed her on the trespass list in the federal database as a high security risk and a serial stoway.

- Nevertheless, that did not stop Marilyn Hartman. She bided her time in order to have one last hurrah. The last flight that she was able to procure without buying a ticket was to London, England in 2018.

Since the London trip in 2018, Hartman has been caught every time in attempting to catch another flight for free. All O'Hare and all Midway personnel keep a picture of her at all terminal checkpoints now. Her most recent arrest was three weeks ago when she tried to jump the line again at O'Hare International Airport after escaping from her residence while being on house arrest.

How in the world was this lady allowed to travel more than a frequent flyer? She revealed how she was able to elude TSA every time. She would always look to walk behind a man with a bag. Rarely does TSA personnel check two people in a row. They would check the person with the bag and then let her waltz through each and every time.

Many people view her as being a thief or as a person with mental issues. However, she is a national hero because she proves that profiling needs to be removed from the standard operating procedures of law enforcement and security personnel throughout this country. The person that everyone least expected became known as the "Serial Stowaway."

YouTube clip courtesy of WGN-TV Chicago. Image from Pixabay.

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I like to write about sports. I am a dwarf at 4'7" tall.

Plainfield, IL

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