Tens of thousands of Australians are flocking to airports across the nation for a getaway over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, sparking long queues and flight delays.
Melbourne Airport is bracing for its busiest commuter day since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with more than 95,000 passengers expected to travel through on Friday.
There were long lines to check in for Virgin flights early on Friday morning, with several routes cancelled or delayed.
Congestion at the airport eased by mid-morning but passengers were urged to plan ahead and arrive early as terminals were likely to be busy across the day.
“We’re advising passengers to arrive between one and two hours before a domestic flight and two to three hours before international flights to allow plenty of time for check-in and to clear security,” a Melbourne Airport spokesman said.
There were also long queues at Sydney Airport, with 80,000 passengers expected to travel on more than 700 flights scheduled to arrive and depart on Friday.
Staff shortages exacerbated by COVID-19 isolation rules led to chaos at airports including Sydney in the lead-up to Easter in April.
In Sydney, where more than 80,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport on Friday, queues began to build about 5am.
Travellers are being urged to arrive two hours before their domestic flights.
A Sydney Airport spokesperson said all security lanes at the airport were open and operating well and that crowds reflected “a typical busy day pre-COVID”.
“The lines at security aren’t long … it’s moving really really well,” he said.