Australian Border Force to implement rolling strikes

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Travellers leaving Australia for New York or returning from the Big Apple and other international destinations are experiencing delays across all Australian international Airports. Australian Border Force staff are undertaking industrial action in response to their demands for increased pay and changes to their working conditions.

The Strikes are scheduled to run for the remainder of September and include twice daily 2 hour stop-work action during the morning and afternoon peaks.

During my visit I found that only 2 stations were open to process the “Something to declare” queue which caused major queuing.

VisitingNewYork.com.au experienced this first hand on Monday morning when I arrived off a 20+ flight direct from New York (via Los Angeles) and was greeted by about 700 passengers crowding the baggage claim area of Sydney airport waiting to be processed through Customs.

Whilst senior Border Force staff were doing their best to process the crowd as quickly as possible it certainly made for a long wait.

During my visit I found that only 2 stations were open to process the “Something to declare” queue which caused major queuing for those who had returned from their holidays with food or souveniers to remember the trip by.

The dates and times for the remaining strikes are as follows for the main departure airport for Australians travelling to New York:

Sydney Airport

Friday 25th September: 7am to 9am and 7pm to 9pm 
Saturday 26th September: 7am to 9am and 7pm to 9pm 
Monday 28th September: 7am to 9am and 7pm to 9pm 
Tuesday 29th September: 7pm to 9pm 
Wednesday 30th September: 7am – 9am

Melbourne Airport

Wednesday 23rd September: 5am to 7am and 9pm to 11pm
Friday 25th September: 5am to 7am and 9pm to 11pm
Saturday 26th September: 5am to 7am and 9pm to 11pm
Monday 28th September: 5am to 7am and 9pm to 11pm
Wednesday 30th September: 5am to 7am and 9pm to 11pm

Brisbane Airport

Wednesday 23rd September: 7am to 9 am and 7pm to 9pm
Friday 25th September: 7am to 9 am and 7pm to 9pm
Saturday 26th September: 7am to 9 am and 7pm to 9pm
Monday 28th September: 7am to 9 am
Tuesday 29th September: 7pm to 9pm
Wednesday 30th September: 7am to 9 am and 7pm to 9pm

The following airlines offer direct flights to the America with connections to New York include Qantas, Virgin Australia, United Airlines and Delta with Hawaiian Airlines flying out of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports daily.

Most Australian departures and arrivals from the USA are scheduled to arrive during industrial action and as such VisitingNewYork.com.au recommends the following action:

  1. Check-in as early as possible – Check with your airline if they are making any special arrangements for earlier than the normal 3-hour check-in window to assist passengers with the expected delays
  2. Take advantage of Qantas’ all day check-in option at Sydney Airport.
  3. If you are entitled to receive an Express Path immigration card ensure you use it.
  4. Be prepared for possible delays and if travelling with young children pack extra toys to help pass the time.

If you too have been caught up in industrial action in recent days we would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

VisitingNewYork.com.au recommendations

  1. Get to the airport as early as possible for your departing flight
  2. If possible travel with carry-on luggage only
  3. Use an Express Path card for your departure and arrival airport
  4. Be patient, delays are expected and if you can prepare yourself for the worst, hopefully the wait won’t be as long as expected.

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