As school breaks end, airports are getting ready for check-in and travel chaos.
If you have to fly this week, you can expect the same hellish airport scenes and painfully long lines that you saw at the start of the July school holidays.
As some states start their third school terms this week, long lines were back at the Sydney and Brisbane airports this morning.
Fans were flying in for a highly anticipated State of Origin decider, so Brisbane Airport was getting ready for a wave of 57,000 passengers today, which would be its second busiest day since the pandemic started in 2020.
Today, Sydney Airport was expecting almost twice as many people, with 110,000 people expected to go through its already crowded terminals.
9news.com.au found out that Sydney Airport had to cancel 15% of all domestic flights at the start of the July school holidays, when lines were so long that they went outside the terminal doors.
In total, 344 domestic flights and 59 international flights out of Sydney were canceled because there weren't enough people working at the airport to handle all the luggage and check-ins.
The pandemic caused the airport to lose about 15,000 employees, and it has been hard to find replacements. The airport is especially short on people to handle bags and check security.
According to data given to 9news.com.au, Melbourne and Brisbane airports did better than Sydney in the first days of the holidays. These airports only had to cancel 9% and 7% of domestic flights, respectively.
Since COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted, Australians have had to wait for hours at airport terminals.
During the Easter holidays, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce made a lot of people angry when he said that passengers who were "not match fit" were to blame for the long lines and delays that caused some people to miss their flights.
Analysts at the Fitch ratings agency said last week that they thought domestic travel would be "fully recovered" by the end of 2023.
They said that it would take another year, or until the end of 2024, for international passenger traffic to get back to where it was before the pandemic.
Compared to April 2019, the number of people using Sydney and Melbourne airports together was about 30% lower in April 2022.