Travelers can expect longer queues at Sydney Airport during the winter school holidays, with more than two million customers tipped to get through the airport doors.
Australia’s busiest airport said on Tuesday that 2.1 million passengers are expected to travel through its terminals between Monday and Sunday, 17 July – 300,000 more than during the April holiday period.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert admitted that the high number of travelers would lead to long queues and more customer headaches.
“We will not condone the fact that the terminals will be crowded and there will be queues during the school holidays,” he said.
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A Melbourne Airport representative could not provide comparable passenger forecasts for new gear but said: “It’s safe to say we also expect it to be busier than Easter”.
So news gear asked two travel experts for their top tips for making winter vacation travel as streamlined and stress-free as possible.
1. Consider flying during the week
By opting for a midweek flight, Neil Hansford, president of Strategic Aviation Solutions, says travelers may be able to avoid the larger crowds.
“The rates will probably be better. And there won’t be such a big crowd,” he said.
2. Check-in online
Preparing for your flight before arriving at the airport will shorten your wait time.
For example, Mr. Hansford advised travelers to take advantage of the airport’s automated processes by checking in online before arriving.
You can then download your boarding pass to your phone.
This way, you avoid a conversation with a check-in agent and arrange your luggage directly at the baggage drop when you arrive at the airport.
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3. Travel light
Finder travel expert Angus Kidman said travelers should always weigh their bags before going to the airport and ensure they meet baggage allowances.
“Airlines are relentless,” he said.
“Remember that, especially with those low-cost airlines, they weigh your bags.
“And if it’s more than… [the allowed amount], pay extra and potentially slow things down and make it harder to get to your queue.”
4. Be smart about security
Mr. Hansford said the real problem for travelers will be the queues at security as some lanes are likely to be closed.
He advised travelers to do their own ‘security check’ before leaving home to ensure they don’t have any prohibited items in their luggage.
“We all know you can’t carry bottled water, so don’t try,” he said.
†[Travellers] try it all and slow everything down. So don’t put scissors and knives and everything else. Follow all the rules.”
You’ll get through security much faster – and so will the people around you.
5. Have some time to spare!
Sydney Airport says customers should arrive two hours before departure for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.
But they also asked people not to arrive earlier, because that would make the airport even busier.
Mr. Kidman said he understood the airport’s position but would nevertheless make the mistake of arriving too early if something went wrong.
“Make sure you’re not racing like crazy out there,” he said.
Worst case, get there early and have another coffee.
6. Keep an eye on your phone
Check your phone for SMS updates on the day of your flight so that you are not surprised by last-minute changes.
And if your flight updates are sent to your email address, checking your inbox and spam folder regularly is a good idea.
Mr. Kidman said, “sometimes those messages end up in the spam email inbox”.