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Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin chaos and delays at Australia’s Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports

The family’s travel plans have been muddled after airport chaos continued on Saturday as Aussies tried to fly away during the school holiday rush.

Passengers at Sydney Airport experienced massive delays in checking their luggage as huge crowds gathered in long lines that meandered through the terminal.

T2’s domestic terminal came to a standstill as the country’s airports continue to struggle to cope with passenger numbers and a critical staff shortage.

The lines zigzagged through the terminal and even stretched out, hitting airlines like Jetstar and Virgin.

Passengers are told to arrive exactly two hours before their flight to help the airport manage the crowds, and the delays are expected to last until at least July 18.

Commuters wait to check in their luggage at Sydney's T2 Domestic Airport Terminal in Sydney

Commuters wait to check in their luggage at Sydney’s T2 Domestic Airport Terminal in Sydney

Queues of travelers gathered at the T2 Domestic Airport Terminal on Saturday as domestic airports continue to struggle to cope with passenger numbers

Queues of travelers gathered at the T2 Domestic Airport Terminal on Saturday as domestic airports continue to struggle to cope with passenger numbers

Passengers are asked to arrive two hours before their flight to help the airport manage the crowds.  The delays are expected to last until at least July 18

Passengers are asked to arrive two hours before their flight to help the airport manage the crowds. The delays are expected to last until at least July 18

Sydney Airport predicted 2.1 million visitors would flock to its gates between June 27 and July 17

Sydney Airport predicted 2.1 million visitors would flock to its gates between June 27 and July 17

“We tested the two-hour window and it’s the right place,” an airport spokeswoman said. “Don’t count three hours, not four hours, but two hours or as close as possible.”

Understaffed check-in counters, delays at security points and an influx of passengers are all responsible for the chaotic scenes.

Wet weather conditions are also said to have contributed to the delays.

Sydney Airport is facing a significant job shortage after it laid off about half of its 33,000 employees in its 800 operations.

“There is still a shortage of jobs of about 5,000 roles at the airport,” the spokesperson said.

Sydney Airport predicted 2.1 million visitors would flock to the gates between June 27 and July 17.

Qantas and Jetstar expect 350,000 passengers this weekend.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Airport expects 2.1 million passengers during these school holidays, 400,000 more than during Easter.

Shocking scenes from the city’s main airports showed passengers waiting in huge lines on the first Saturday of intermission, after many arrived from 6 a.m. onward.

Brisbane Airport also faced large crowds this week, some of which described it as ‘outrageous’.

Families from NSW, Western Australia and the ACT will join the chaos on Friday afternoon.

At Sydney Airport, passengers were waiting in lines stretching out of the terminal and through the door in similar scenes of chaos last week

At Sydney Airport, passengers were waiting in lines stretching out of the terminal and through the door in similar scenes of chaos last week

Travelers at Melbourne Airport (pictured) face long waits at security points and check-in counters

Travelers at Melbourne Airport (pictured) face long waits at security points and check-in counters

Crowds at Brisbane Airport increased last week (pictured) as the state's school holidays kicked off

Crowds at Brisbane Airport increased last week (pictured) as the state’s school holidays kicked off

A passenger told The courier post last week: ‘The queues are outrageous and it is clear that the place is totally understaffed.’

“How can we expect people to want to travel when they are confronted with these kinds of scenes.”

Virgin Australia predicted that passenger numbers would increase by 15 percent during these school holidays compared to the same time in 2019.

It also said the number would be ten percent higher than during the previous Easter holiday.

“Both airlines transported a similar number of customers domestically over the weekend ahead of the start of the Victoria and Queensland school holidays,” said a statement from Qantas.

“Both airlines have taken steps to improve their operations and are working with airports and suppliers to ensure disruptions to customers during the holiday season are minimized.”

Understaffed check-in counters, delays at security points and an influx of passengers are all responsible for the chaotic scene

Understaffed check-in counters, delays at security points and an influx of passengers are all responsible for the chaotic scene

The Transport Workers’ Union said the airline industry has been facing a skills shortage since it laid off 12,500 workers during the pandemic.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said: “Little action has been taken since Easter to address the serious skills shortages we have seen in aviation caused by low wages, poor working conditions and collapsing safety standards.”

“The workers who remain in the industry are under tremendous pressure from airports and airlines to plug gaps and keep the gears moving.”

Australians have seized the much anticipated opportunities they did not have during the Covid pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021.

Vacationers were forced to cancel and postpone travel plans and were left in isolation across the country as every state and territory tried to eradicate the disease.

KPMG predicted in February last year that ‘restless Australian aspiring travellers’ would come out after the tourism industry took a beating during the pandemic.

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