Easter flights depart without baggage

Phoebe Loomes, Farid Farid and Finbar O'Mallon |

The expected rush at the country’s busiest airports has passed after fears of Easter holiday chaos but continued staff shortages meant some travellers touched down at destinations without their bags.

At Sydney Airport travellers were urged to arrive two hours early on Good Friday, but queues remained under control, and wait times to pass check in and security peaked at about 45 minutes.

Both Qantas and Sydney Airport have called more than 300 members of their corporate employees to assist with ongoing shortages in the terminals.

Qantas said it continues to face a staff shortage, and a small number of its flights had departed without baggage in recent days.

“Decisions were made to have these flights depart without baggage to ensure that customers could get to their destination and not face long flight delays or cancellations,” a Qantas spokeswoman said.

The bags will be put on later flights, and then sent to customers by courier.

“We really appreciate people’s patience and understanding and apologise for the inconvenience,” the spokeswoman said.

More than 200 Qantas head office managers are working at airports to assist with worker shortfall.

The airline opened additional security screening lanes at Sydney’s domestic terminal and Jetstar has begun using larger Boeing 787 Dreamliners, usually reserved for international flights, for its Melbourne to Cairns and the Gold Coast routes.

Some 120 corporate staff from Sydney Airport are also donning green vests and working as support staff over Easter.

It follows days of chaos at airports around the country with staff shortages due to COVID-19 isolation rules. 

It comes as a $1000 incentive payment was offered to security staff who work every rostered shift over the Easter and Anzac Day period, from last Thursday to April 26, Nine Newspapers reported.

The cash payment is being offered by Singapore-based Certis Security, whose human resources manager Vicky Kotkiewicz said in an email to staff the payment was a thank you.

Staff who miss a shift during this period will not receive the money.

For much of Thursday queues and wait times at Sydney Airport were hours long but eased later in the day. 

Some 79,000 domestic passengers are expected to transit through Sydney Airport on Good Friday.

Melbourne will handle 76,000 passengers each day over the Easter period while Adelaide is anticipating 25,000 on Friday.

Monday will be Hobart’s busiest-ever day for flights, with more than 81 planes coming and going.

With the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions, Australians are set to spend $7.1 billion this holiday season, according to research conducted by Roy Morgan.

More than four million Australians are planning a trip away this Easter, with 63 per cent travelling within their own state and more than one third heading interstate.

AAP has contacted Certis Group for a comment.