Authorities are warning people to plan their travels ahead of time as millions stream into airports for the winter school holidays kick off in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Airports across Australia are expected to be the busiest they’ve been since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.
It all comes as the industry scrambles to get on top of a critical worker shortage and fill thousands of jobs.
How many people are traveling?
More than 2 million passengers are expected to transit through Melbourne Airport over the July school holidays.
The same amount of people are expected to travel through Sydney Airport.
And Brisbane Airport is bracing for traveler volumes at 95 per cent pre-pandemic levels.
That includes an estimated 55,000 passengers who are expected to board domestic flights on peak days over the next month.
About 9,000 people are expected to head overseas from Brisbane today, which is a post-pandemic record.
So how can I avoid extra airport stress?
While there have been recent reports of canceled flights and missing luggage, airport queues are far from chaotic.
Right now they’re just really busy.
Airports have rostered extra staff to deal with the busier periods, with school holidays in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory beginning this afternoon.
But authorities are urging people to plan ahead to avoid stress and delays where possible.
A first good step is to check in online.
If possible, traveling with hand luggage only is one way to speed things up.
“Traveling with hand luggage is an option, that is also one way to skip the bag drop queue,” says Brisbane Airport head of public affairs Stephen Beckett.
Arriving early is a good idea. Mr Beckett recommends travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their domestic flight or three hours before traveling internationally.
Are there any issues getting to and from the airport?
Yes. Booking land transport (taxi, rideshare or the train) ahead of time could help you avoid a few headaches.
For example, travelers escaping the chilly southern states to Cairns have found themselves stuck waiting for a cab or a shuttle bus from the airport.
So, planning how to get to and from the airport is a good idea, says Mr Beckett.
“We’re seeing passengers [who] have been caught short waiting for taxis and Ubers, “he says.
“So our strongest advice is to pre-book your land transport or consider the Air Train when coming to the airport.”
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