Updated on May 16, 2024.
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For many, if you ask them what they were doing on September 11, 2001, they can tell you in perfect detail, no matter how young or old they are. For many Americans, their lives changed with the terror attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. For the rest of the world, these attacks changed airport security, tightening up restrictions that had become lax over time.

In fact, you can almost time it to the minute it happened. As soon as the planes hit, airports were shut down, and when they were re-opened, flying would never be the same again. So what time did the planes hit on 9/11? And what happened next?

There were four different planes that hit between 8:46 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and 10:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. They hit various locations in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania in a series of planned terrorist attacks.

Key Takeaways

  • The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and changed airport security forever. The attacks led to the implementation of strict security protocols and procedures that are still in place today.
  • The attacks involved four different planes hitting various locations in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania between 8:46 a.m. and 10:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The planes were part of a series of planned terrorist attacks carried out by 19 hijackers.
  • The legacy of 9/11 lives on each day as we consider the impact it had on flying. Although the security measures put in place after the attacks can be inconvenient, they are necessary to prevent potential terrorist attacks and ensure the safety of travelers.

World Trade Center

Two planes hit the World Trade Center on September 11. 2001. The first plane, American Airlines flight 11, hit the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. At that time, no one knew what was coming, and many watched this horrible event unfold live on television. The second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. At this point, it was clear that it was a terrorist attack.


The third plane hit the Pentagon, which houses the U.S. Department of Defense, in Washington, D.C., at 9:37 a.m. This was American Airlines 77, and part of the building collapsed as a result.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania

What Time Did the Planes Hit on 911

There was a fourth plane that was part of the September 11 terrorist attacks; however, no one knows what its final destination was. The plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when the passengers overtook the terrorists. There were no survivors.

What Happened Next?

At the end of the day, 19 hijackers took the lives of nearly 3,000 people that day, whether on the planes or in the buildings they attacked. So many more perished as a result of the attacks, including many who heroically rushed into the towers to try to save lives.

In the immediate aftermath, flights were grounded to prevent potential terrorist attacks, and when the airports re-opened, strict security protocols were in place. Now, you have to pass through security checkpoints and get scanned for potential concealed weapons. We take off our shoes, remove electronics from our bags, and pass our belongings to get x-rayed.

Additionally, now, we can only carry 100 ml or less of single-use liquids that fit in a 1 litre bag in our carry-on bags. It’s easy to grumble about these restrictions, but once you remember why they’re in place, they feel like the least you can do.

September 11, 2001, is a day that many will never forget, and its legacy lives on each day as we consider the impact it had on flying.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many planes were involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

Four planes were involved in the attacks: two hit the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania.

  • What were the timings of the plane crashes?

The plane crashes occurred between 8:46 a.m. and 10:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on September 11, 2001.

  • What were the names of the airlines and flights involved in the attacks?

The airlines involved in the attacks were American Airlines and United Airlines. The flights were American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93.

  • How did the 9/11 attacks impact airport security?

The 9/11 attacks led to significant changes in airport security protocols and procedures. Strict security measures were put in place, including screening passengers and their belongings and using advanced technologies.

  • How did the 9/11 attacks affect air travel?

The 9/11 attacks had a significant impact on air travel, leading to increased security measures and restrictions. This includes the limits on liquids and gels in carry-on luggage, the removal of shoes during security screenings, and the use of full-body scanners.