Authorities are warning people to plan their travels ahead of time as millions stream into airports for the winter school holidays kick off in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

Airports across Australia are expected to be the busiest they’ve been since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. 

It all comes as the industry scrambles to get on top of a critical worker shortage and fill thousands of jobs.

How many people are travelling?

More than 2 million passengers are expected to transit through Melbourne Airport over the July school holidays. 

The same amount of people are expected to travel through Sydney Airport. The NSW school holiday begin next Friday, on July 1.

Long queues at Sydney Airport earlier in June.(ABC News: Kamin Gock)

And Brisbane Airport is bracing for traveller volumes at 95 per cent pre-pandemic levels.

That includes an estimated 55,000 passengers who are expected to board domestic flights on peak days over the next month. 

About 9,000 people are expected to head overseas from Brisbane today, which is a post-pandemic record. 

So how can I avoid extra airport stress?

While there have been recent reports of cancelled flights and missing luggage, airport queues are far from chaotic. 

Right now they’re just really busy.

Airports have rostered extra staff to deal with the busier periods, with school holidays in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory beginning this afternoon.

But authorities are urging people to plan ahead to avoid stress and delays where possible. 

A first good step is to check in online. 

If possible, travelling with hand luggage only is one way to speed things up.

“Travelling with hand luggage is an option, that is also one way to skip the bag drop queue,” says Brisbane Airport head of public affairs Stephen Beckett.

Arriving early is a good idea. Mr Beckett recommends travellers arrive at the airport at least two hours before their domestic flight or three hours before travelling internationally. 

Are there any issues getting to and from the airport?

Yes. Booking land transport (taxi, rideshare or the train) ahead of time could help you avoid a few headaches.

For example, travellers escaping the chilly southern states to Cairns have found themselves stuck waiting for a cab or a shuttle bus from the airport.

So, planning how to get to and from the airport is a good idea, Mr Beckett says.

“We’re seeing passengers [who] have been caught short waiting for taxis and Ubers,” he says.

“So our strongest advice is pre-book your land transport or consider the Air Train when coming to the airport.”.

Qantas says it will cut domestic flights. What will that mean? 

Qantas says it’s cutting a further five per cent of its domestic flights, as the airline does its best to recover from COVID and skyrocketing fuel prices.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said on Sunday that the airline industry was “rusty” as a result of the hibernation during COVID-19.((AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts))

The airline is still well down on the number of pre-pandemic flights, but it’s hoping the start of school holidays means travellers will be ready to once again take to the skies.

Most of the capacity will be cut from high-frequency routes, the airline said.

Chief executive officer Alan Joyce said on Sunday that the airline industry was “rusty” as a result of the hibernation during COVID-19.

But he was confident Qantas would be able to fix issues within a few weeks.

The airline said it planned to give $5,000 bonuses to up to 19,000 staff when they signed fresh union contracts after a two-year wage freeze during the pandemic.

Posted , updated