Serial Stowaway released from jail: ‘I feel free as a bird’

CHICAGO (KRON/AP) — A woman who repeatedly snuck past airport security and onto planes in the Bay Area and around the country has been released from jail in Chicago.

“I feel free as a bird,” 63-year-old Marilyn Hartman told reporters outside jail Thursday and said that she’s through with her run of stowaway attempts.

Last August, Hartman managed to sneak onto a Southwest Airline flight at Mineta San Jose International Airport, by slipped past an agent who was checking a family’s boarding passes. She went through security screening and then somehow got past a gate agent. Police took her into custody after she landed at Los Angeles International Airport. Prior to that incident, Hartman was arrested several times while attempting to board flights at San Jose and San Francisco airports.

Hartman was also detained at a Florida airport accused of getting on a plane without a ticket in Minnesota.

Her latest arrest in Chicago came after she tried several times to get past security at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports in April and May.

Hartman pleaded guilty this week to misdemeanor criminal trespassing on state land and was released after almost two months in jail.

Speaking to reporters, she offered little in the way of explanation for her behavior, saying only that “even smart people do stupid things.”

In the past, she has talked of struggles with mental illness and homelessness, saying she feels safer in airports than in the streets.

On Thursday she said she was done with stowaway attempts and would stay out of airports unless she had a ticket.

“If I have a ticket I can go,” she said. “If I have a ticket to ride. Sounds like a song. But if I have that I can go.”

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