Australian travelers experienced more disruption from the airport on Saturday on the first day of the winter school holidays in the eastern states.
Millions of passengers are expected to fly to and from the country’s largest airports in the next two weeks, with people being warned about long wait times.
Airport authorities have welcomed the return of travelers but have warned passengers to plan ahead and arrive at the terminal at the recommended times.
Frustrated passengers filmed long lines for baggage drop and check-in counters at Melbourne airport on Saturday morning as the holiday rush got under way.
It followed similar scenes on Friday, when it was reported that some passengers had waited for hours at the airport after their flights were canceled or delayed.
More than 2.1 million people are expected to pass through the airport between June 24 and July 17, with airlines forecasting 1.6 million domestic travelers and 447,000 international passengers.
The same number of passengers are expected to fly in and out of Sydney Airport between June 27 and July 17, compared to 1.8 million travelers over the Easter holidays.
Sydney Airport was also busy on Saturday, with some passengers taking to social media to report that their flights had been overbooked and their luggage held up.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said their forecasts showed school holidays to get even busier than in April.
“It’s great to see continued demand for air travel, but we won’t condone the fact that the terminals will be busy during school holidays and there will be queues,” he said.
Sydney Airport has recently tried to attract people to the airline industry to fill its 5000 vacancies.
There have been widespread and recurring reports of chaos at the Australian airport in recent months, particularly during peak hours during the Easter holidays and the Queen’s Day long weekend.
Airports and airlines have said a critical labor shortage after the pandemic is the cause.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said staffing in the sector continues to be a problem for “some operators”, particularly in baggage and ground handling.
Ailing passengers traveling in the run-up to the holiday reported instances of their flights being cancelled, being separated from their bags and in some cases losing their luggage completely.
The Transport Workers Union, which represents parts of the airline industry, has attributed much of the disruption to Qantas’ legally controversial outsourcing of ground and baggage handling tasks to outside companies.
Qantas has apologized to customers who have been delayed in collecting their luggage in recent months and said staff shortages are the cause.
Airport authorities encourage passengers to arrive about two hours earlier for a domestic flight and three hours for an international flight.