BOSTON -- Vaughn Allex will never forget the faces of 2 of the 9/11 hijackers. The looked castle in the eye that morning and also asked that packed your luggage.Allex was an American airlines ticket agent at Dulles international Airport ~ above Sept. 11, 2001 once two men ran right into the terminal -- appearing lost -- and approached his counter.

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Brothers Salem and also Nawaf Al-Hazmi arrived late that day, however with 2 full-fare, first-class passenger standing in former of him, instead of rebooking them, Allex ensured they made flight 77.Allex has lived through that decision because that the last 20 years."The check-in was odd. The 2 that I confirm in, 2 brothers, one was type of gruff and also the various other one to be standing a pair of paces behind him. And also this sounds odd, yet this is what recorded my attention. He was almost dancing, the was moving from foot to foot and grinning and also looking around, and my assumed was, here"s somebody that"s never been top top an airplane and boy is this guy excited," Allex newly recalled in one interview at Dulles airplane in Virginia.

"I realize that there's most likely nothing i could've done to stop what happened. I've come to terms through that."Vaughn Allex, previous American Airlines gate agent, speaks about the guilt that feels for permitting hijackers onto trip 77 top top Sept. 11, 2001. Https://

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"And I type of watched him because that a pair of minutes as we went through the whole check. And he was totally unresponsive as much as everything we request him come read, come look verbally. He just smiled and also danced and was oblivious to what was going on," the continued. "That"s the picture I have, is the 2 of castle standing there and also the one simply dancing, it to be the oddest thing."When the pair couldn"t answer an easy security check-in questions, Allex marked their tickets for additional security.There"s an ext Allex has had to live through -- 24 hours prior to Allex checked-in the brothers, his longtime co-worker and close friend MJ Booth asked because that advice ~ above a pilgrimage to las Vegas. She thought about flying to Chicago or Dallas to connect to las Vegas, but Allex urged her to take flight 77 instead and also connect through Los Angeles."I said, very first of all, it"s a better flight. It"s a transcontinental flight. You acquire a meal and a movie and also it"s relaxing." Allex recalls. "She stated that sounded good, yet that she"d never ever written a ticket that way and us were just transitioning to digital tickets. Could I aid her? therefore I wrote her ticket indigenous Dulles to Los Angeles v a connecting flight back to las Vegas. And then the complying with day, I witnessed that she had acquired on the trip on the ticket I"d written."Allex left Dulles top top Sept. 11 grieving, yet had no idea it was around to acquire so lot worse.
"I didn"t recognize on September 11th, on the night and also the morning the September 12th, i was dealing favor everybody else was v what taken place with losing friends, shedding passengers, shedding the crew. I knew all of the crew ~ above the trip deck and I knew every one of the cabin crew, I"d worked with them for years. What ns didn"t recognize until about mid-morning (Sept. 12) when the FBI was talk to me was the those last 2 passengers that I checked in to be actually two of the hijackers. I had no idea until that minute that I had been affiliated in it," Allex said.On Sept. 12, Allex was summoned come his boss" office. There, a woman presented herself together an attorney because that American Airlines, including "I am no your attorney."Allex recalls the chill that went through his body. That"s once he claims two FBI agents walked in, handing him a passenger manifest."I started to run my hand down the list and also I saw the name of the two people I checked-in, and also in the moment and that instant, that"s when I looked in ~ him and also I said, "I go it, didn"t I?" and they said, "what did you do?" and also I go, "these to be the two that I placed in,"" Allex said. "I think they, lock knew precisely who they were looking for, but they want me to involved that conclusion. And also once we did, the interview strictly concentrated on these 2 individuals. And the rest is history, that the totality transaction come back, i didn"t know all of September 11th till that moment on September 12th -- ns did not realize the I had actually checked-in two of the hijackers."


Ticket certified dealer Vaughn Allex speaks v ABC News" Gio Benitez in ~ Dulles global Airport, Aug. 24, 2021.

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Guilt tortured Allex for years come come. Twenty years later, there space still some things he"d rather not discuss."I blame myself, ns thought, you know, if I had actually done miscellaneous different, if I"d no let them on, if I simply said to the agents, these two men are late, permit them obtain the following flight. We have actually one in ~ noon. It"s no large deal," Allex said.Over the years, friends and professionals told Allex the he was just doing his job.
"That"s what they call me, that"s what they phone call me, but, what friend do, what her -- your very own mind does is, is stunner sometimes," Allex said.His mind ongoing to play gamings with him because that years. That wouldn"t be until 2004, v the purchase of a book that whatever turned around."The turning point for me, I had been interviewed by the 9/11 Commission. And also it wasn"t until the 9/11 board of directors report come out and also I bought the book and here is this publication with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages, and I"m on web page three. I have a small paragraph and also a footnote, footnote number 12."Allex explained that single footnote -- his name next to so many others -- is what finally collection him cost-free of guilt and the feeling of responsibility years ~ the attacks."That"s once it began to acquire better. That"s when I walk -- five my gosh. There to be so countless other civilization involved, there were so numerous innocent civilization that simply touched ~ above this. And also I had just such a small, small five-minute component of it. But prior to that, it to be -- it was terrible."Allex retired from American airline in 2008. He currently works for TSA."I joined the room of Homeland security working for the transport Security management and ever since I"ve been with them, it"s been great. Ns feel prefer the work-related that they do is so necessary to save everybody safe. And also the fact that I have just together a little little part there, I"m like the happiest person at TSA. And I"ll tell anybody that," Allex claimed with a smile.On Aug. 23, Allex walked v ABC News through the doors he saw the two hijackers run through that fateful morning. Together he stand there, recalling the storage of the guys responsible for beginning the war in Afghanistan, Afghan refugees had actually just come from evacuation flights. Lock filed past the American airline ticket counter and through the very doors the the hijackers walked in twenty years earlier -- grateful to start a brand-new life in America.