THEIR Visa debit card was rejected by the travel agency computer and the clerk would not let them write a cheque for the two first-class airline tickets to Los Angeles they wanted to buy.
So Hani Hanjour and Majed Moqed drove off and came back half an hour later with a bank envelope stuffed with cash. They showed fake drivers' licences, and gave a fake phone number.
But they came away from the ATS travel agency on August 31 with a single ticket for American Airlines Flight 77, which authorities say Hanjour piloted into the Pentagon less than two weeks later, killing 189 people.
The agent who issued the ticket has been distraught since the terrorist attacks. "She can't even sleep, " the owner said. "We're all a little paranoid. They could have come in here strapped to a bomb."