Sydney Airport is struggling to survive just a week after the first major vacation period since Australia reopened its borders.
On Thursday evening, thousands of people stood in long lines stretching from the security line to the reception desk and to the front door.
“At the moment, we are facing a perfect storm,” Jeff Calbert, CEO of Sydney Airport, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Traffic is increasing, travelers are inexperienced after two years of non-travel, and the rules of close contact make it difficult to fill changes and airport staff.”
The chaos lasted until Friday morning, and Peter Depeler took to Twitter to show the crowds filling the airport lobby as early as 6am.
He said that when the queues were large, the queues apparently moved “fast enough”.
However, around the same time on Friday morning Michelle Tran said she missed the flight to Melbourne due to the crowded mayhem.
On Thursday night, travelers went out on social media to share their views on the queues that enveloped the lobby and spilled onto the roads behind Terminals 2 and 3.
Some reported having to wait in lines for 90 minutes to two hours.
Affected terminals serve all of Australia’s major domestic airlines, including Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Rex flights.
Mr Culbert advised travelers to arrive at the airport two hours before departure and be patient when the industry gets back on its feet.
Mitch Dale was at the airport on Thursday night and accidentally heard an ad on the software system saying it was “the busiest day at Sydney airport this year.”
Journalism teacher Sue Stevenson waited in line for two hours, and eventually had to be escorted through the queue to board her flight to Port Macquarie, which began for landing.
James Bing expressed his disappointment, saying the airport was “understaffed and ill-prepared” and could benefit from more security lines and oversight.