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Melbourne Airport plunged into chaos as huge queues form ahead of school holidays

Holiday hell: Long lines stretch outside packed airports as millions board flights during the school break – with travellers warned to allow extra time

  • Massive queues formed and travellers told to arrive hours early before flights
  • Melbourne Airport was packed with long forms stretching from the check-in
  • Travellers were told to expect long queues, delayed flights and lost baggage 

Airports have been plunged into chaos across Australia with huge queues forming, and travellers warned to allow extra time before flights with delays expected.

Melbourne Airport was overrun with passengers with crowds forming at the check-in and baggage drop, while Brisbane Airport had long queues stretching from the security check section before 6 am on Friday.

Sydney Airport had passengers waiting in lines that stretched out of the terminal and through the door in similar scenes of chaos on Thursday.

More than four million travellers are expected to fly during the school holidays, with airline staff telling passengers to arrive up to 90 minutes early.

Airports have been plunged into chaos across the country with huge queues forming and travellers warned to arrive hours before their flight with delays expected (pictured, Melbourne Airport)

Sydney Airport had passengers waiting in lines that stretched out of the terminal and through the door in similar scenes of chaos on Thursday

Sydney Airport had passengers waiting in lines that stretched out of the terminal and through the door in similar scenes of chaos on Thursday 

More than four million travellers are expected to pass through the airports during the school holidays with airline staff telling passengers to arrive up to 90 minutes early so they don't miss their flights (pictured, Melbourne Airport)

More than four million travellers are expected to pass through the airports during the school holidays with airline staff telling passengers to arrive up to 90 minutes early so they don’t miss their flights (pictured, Melbourne Airport)

Travellers have been warned to expect long queues, delayed flights and lost baggage, with airports adjusting to the busy season as they rebuild their decimated workforces after thousands were laid off due to a lack of flights.

‘Our forecast shows the July school holidays are going to be even busier than what we saw in April,’ Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said.

‘It’s terrific to see the ongoing demand for air travel. But we won’t sugar-coat the fact that the terminals will be busy during the school holidays, and there will be queues.’

Sydney Airport is forecasting more than two million passengers between June 24 and July 17, with 1.5 million of them expected to take a domestic flight.

Total passenger traffic recovered to 69 per cent of pre-COVID levels, the airport said.

Melbourne Airport is also expecting similar figures, with more than 2.1 million people predicted to pass through its terminals.

‘The root cause of these challenges is that every business at the airport is rebuilding its workforce and doing it in the tightest jobs market in nearly half a century,’ Mr Culbert said.

Sydney Airport general manager of operations Greg Hay urged passengers to arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international. 

‘It’s great that passengers are arriving well ahead of their flights, but it’s important to arrive as close as possible to the advised times, and not any earlier,’ he said.

Melbourne Airport (pictured) was overrun with passengers with crowds forming at the check-in and baggage drop while Brisbane Airport had long queues stretching from the security check section before 6am on Friday

Melbourne Airport (pictured) was overrun with passengers with crowds forming at the check-in and baggage drop while Brisbane Airport had long queues stretching from the security check section before 6am on Friday

Melbourne Airport is also expecting similar figures, with more than 2.1 million people predicted to pass through its terminals

Melbourne Airport is also expecting similar figures, with more than 2.1 million people predicted to pass through its terminals

‘Some domestic airlines do not open baggage check-in until two hours prior and if you get to the airport too early you could end up having an additional wait.’

Qantas has borne the brunt of travellers’ ire on social media in recent days, with many reporting their bags missing and delayed flights.

The airline on Thursday said it was ‘pulling out all stops and working with airports and suppliers to ensure the upcoming holiday period is not impacted by the significant disruptions that customers faced over Easter’.

Along with its budget subsidiary Jetstar, it has recruited more than 1000 operational team members with 20 per cent more staff on stand-by rosters than during the Easter period.

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