Airline stowaway released from jail early

A 62-year-old woman who sentenced to six months in jail for sneaking into the Los Angeles airport after stowing away on a flight from San Jose earlier this month has been released early, the San Jose Mercury News reports

The woman, Marilyn Jean Hartman, was sentenced to 177 days in jail after being found guilty of violating the probation she was placed on after the earlier San Jose airport incident. 

However, Hartman was released after three days due to “overcrowding,” according to the report. 

Hartman’s successful attempt to board a flight without paying has raised questions about the security of the San Jose airport, which also had a 15-year-old boy sneak onto a flight earlier this year. 

“Passenger safety in the sky relies upon effective security on the ground,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who represents the area around the San Jose airport, said in a statement after Hartman’s first arrest.  

“That means only a screened and ticketed passenger should ever be able to board an airplane,” he continued.   

Swalwell said the incident involving Hartman “was an apparent failure by both airport security and the airline of protecting passengers from a potential threat to their safety. 

“Fortunately, this ticketless passenger was harmless,” he said. “However, we may not be as lucky next time and must do everything possible to protect the traveling public.”

TSA officials have defended its San Jose employees’ treatment of Hartman during her initial stowaway attempt, even though she was successfully able to board a flight to Los Angeles without paying. 

“The individual was screened along with all other passengers to ensure that she was not a security threat to the aircraft,” the agency said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.

The agency said it has made changes to the layout of its San Jose checkpoint after the incident, however. 

“Following an initial review by TSA at San Jose International Airport, the agency has initiated minor modifications to the layout of the document checking area to prevent another incident like this one,” the TSA said.