‘Just bedlam’: Passengers wait hours at Sydney Airport in long queues

Passengers at Sydney Airport have reported long delays to catch flights on Thursday night.

Photos and video footage online showed people lined up at Terminal 2, which services Qantas, and Terminal 3, which services Virgin, Jetstar and Rex flights.

Long, snaking queues stretched outside the terminal buildings as people queued to check in and get through security.

Sydney Airport blamed a combination of large numbers of passengers due to the upcoming school holiday and Easter period, a shortage of security personnel, and passengers forgetting travel basics such as removing their laptops from their bags before the security screening.

A spokeswoman said the "sheer volume of people" was causing the queues, and warned passengers travelling in the next two weeks to arrive at the airport two hours before their flights.

The spokeswoman said passenger numbers had doubled since six months ago, although domestic travel was largely dormant in October last year.

Mitch Dale was flying to Brisbane and described the chaotic queues.

“The departures hall is just bedlam, full of lines that are seemingly random and impossible to distinguish if they’re for check-in or security,” he said.

“They just made an announcement that this is the busiest day Sydney Airport has had this year so far.

“I was definitely stressed – honestly didn’t think I had any chance of making my flight when I realised the lines going outside the building were for security.”

Mr Dale said the line for security stretched outside the terminal into another building, although the footage “looked worse than it actually is”.

“It was 40 minutes for me from the car to the plane using a check-in kiosk and checking a bag in,” he said. “As far as I could tell all of the security points were open and staffed.”

Sue Stephenson was flying to Port Macquarie and waited almost two hours at the airport.

"I had to get escorted through queue because [the] plane was boarding," she said.

"Queues were calm, but there was lots of confusion about what was going on. Only one airport police officer controlling what had to be thousands of travellers in the queue. No airport announcements or staff telling what was going on."

Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar were all contacted for comment.

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