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Airport chaos: Thousands swarm Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Airports for Easter long weekend

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Holiday hell as thousands descend on Australia’s airports ahead of the Easter break following a week of chaos at all terminals – here’s how early you should arrive

  • Airports across Australia bracing for another day of travel chaos as Easter looms 
  • 82,000 travellers expected through Sydney on Thursday and 79,000 on Friday
  • Long queues of travellers lined up at Sydney and Melbourne airports by 4am
  • Airport bosses warn delays are expected to continue for another fortnight 

Thousands of holidaymakers desperate to escape for the Easter long weekend have begun their journeys, sparking more chaotic scenes at airports across Australia.

Passengers have been warned to arrive at least two hours before their departure as airports and airlines brace for the busiest day for domestic air travel in more than two years.

How passengers can help reduce delays 

Pre-book parking or leave your car at home and use transport alternatives

Check in online

Arrive two hours-plus early for domestic flights

Arrive three-plus hours early for international flights

Get laptops out of cases before security screening

Empty pockets, remove bulky jackets, metallic items such as belts and heavy jewellery

Check your luggage for items you can’t bring on a flight – such as aerosol cans – and discard them

Ensure you don’t exceed the baggage weight and size specified on your ticket

 

By 4am, long queues of bleary-eyed travellers had already snaked outside the terminal in Sydney, where 82,000 passengers expected to check-in throughout the day and another 79,000 estimated on Friday. 

There are similar scenes in Melbourne with the check-in terminal heaving with travellers by 5am.

Long queues were already lined up outside Sydney Airport before 4am on Thursday

Long queues were already lined up outside Sydney Airport before 4am on Thursday

On top of overwhelming demand, airports are also struggling with mass staff shortages due to Covid-19 and close contact rules. 

It’s the eighth consecutive day of chaos in Sydney, which is predicted to continue for an another fortnight.

Airport bosses have apologised in advance with more delays over the Easter long weekend.

‘I know it’s a difficult message to hear but Thursday is going to be another tough day for travellers, and I want to apologise in advance to anyone who is inconvenienced,’ Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert said.

The Virgin Australia check-in  at Melbourne Airport was already busy 5.15am Thursday

The Virgin Australia check-in  at Melbourne Airport was already busy 5.15am Thursday

Melbourne Airport boss Lyell Strambi added: ‘COVID-19 decimated airlines and airports and resulted in thousands of highly skilled workers being stood down or made redundant.

‘Airlines and their suppliers are now scaling up their workforce but given the safety-critical nature of the jobs they do, recruitment and re-training can take time’. 

Around 50,000 travellers are expected to go through Brisbane Airport on Thursday with another 25,000 in Adelaide.

Queensland Airports boss Chris Mills predicted Gold Coast airport would see its busiest day since 2018 with 28,000 seats scheduled for Easter Monday.

Recent records were broken at Gold Coast were broken a week ago and will surge again with the re-introduction of the Jetstar Gold Coast-Auckland service on Wednesday. 

Flights to New Zealand are also fully booked after Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reopened the borders to double vaccinated Australians on Wednesday, nine months after the short-lived Trans-Tasman bubble burst due to a Covid outbreak. 

More than 82,000 travellers are expected to check-in at Sydney Airport in Thursday

More than 82,000 travellers are expected to check-in at Sydney Airport in Thursday

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