What is Australia's airport security like

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by jtodd, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    For those sick of the lack of leadership in this country, and the stasi state, this may be an option.


  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Much more pleasant than here.

    For domestic terminals which to not have to be screened to international (i.e. American) standards, anyone can meet anyone at the gate. Shoes stay on your feet, laptops & boarding passes stay in your briefcase which does get x-rayed as you you want through the metal detector.

    They have reportedly ordered some Nude-O-Scopes but I have not yet heard of any reports or complaints of them being used.

    For international terminals it's the same old routine but without TSA's low lifes. There's sometimes additional screening at a gate for US-bound flights.

    Customs & immigration is much more pleasant to deal with.

    In four visits, I've never had any issues. The U.S. could take some lessons from Australia.

    Australia is a fantastic country. Although on the surface, the government & institutions are British, the culture is much more akin to American than British. Think of it as just another large 19-century frontier country settled by homesteaders ("squatters" in Australianese) that's made it to the 21st century.

    If you have any convicts in your family tree, you'll fit in even better. Personally, I can claim a condemned horse thief & 3 petty thieves, thanks to my Australian grandmother's heritage. :D

    This sounds like a good opportunity if you're interested in that type of relocation.
    Lisa Simeone and RadioGirl like this.
  3. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Mike has covered it pretty well but as the token Australian here:

    At the international ports (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, etc) the domestic and international terminals are separate . (There are a few domestic flights where the aircraft then continues to int'l destination, eg SYD-MEL-SIN and these leave from the int'l terminal but they are easy to avoid.) Some of the small town airports have (!!) no security screening on departure, but you get screened on arrival at the larger airport because you are arriving into the secure side.

    Security on domestic flights is nearly pre-9/11; no liquid restrictions although laptops do have to come out of bags, a WTMD and standard x-ray of bags. They may ask you to remove an obviously bulky coat but not light jackets or sweaters. Sometimes there's a random ETD swab (of bags) at the exit of the checkpoint area. (Never seen it alarm.) They're a little more restrictive of sharp things; I think scissors and knitting needles are not allowed (I've never tried) but it's generally sane. If they want to look in your bag after x-ray (CBR has a thing about umbrellas :confused: ) the screeners are generally polite and will wait until you can see what they're doing. The main thing I notice is that it moves smoothly and quietly; there's no barking and the screeners are efficient without rushing you along. For flights in the peak morning period from SYD, I've sometimes waited as much as five minutes in the line and even with my metal hip requiring a patdown, it takes less than five minutes to get through.

    At the international terminal, the main difference is the liquid restriction which is the same as the US, although they're not confiscating cupcakes, and they apply some common sense. For example, I've seen someone with a single liquid item and no baggie allowed through, and women with non-zip-lock cosmetics bags allowed, as long as the contents are generally compliant. If there's something they don't allow, again, there's no shouting or "authority", they just quietly explain that you can't take [whatever] on. I saw someone with a hip flask who had to pour out the contents but kept the flask; it was handled as politely as such a stupid underlying policy could be. Other than that, shoes stay on, laptops out, jackets off, WTMD and x-ray, and random ETD at the exit of the checkpoint. As Mike says, there may be additional stupidity for US-bound flights; I can't remember.

    SYD and MEL had brief (2-3 week) trials of MMW NoS with gumby software in August and September. During the trial, it was voluntary so I didn't hear (or expect) any complaints, although some of the media commented on the negative reaction in the US. The transport minister had earlier declared that they would be installed permanently at international terminals "real soon now" but I haven't heard anything since the trial (which was about the time the Germans declared them ineffective). So I'm hoping (but can't promise) that we stay NoS-free.

    Edit to add: For domestic travel, it is possible to check in online, print your own bag tags from a kiosk (if checking bags) and go from curb to gate without anyone asking for papers or ID. The gate agent scans your BP and you're good. No ID to check in, to get through security or to get on the plane. For int'l, you have to show a passport at check-in or bag drop and at Immigration, but not at security.

    Australia is a great place to live but getting permanent residency is difficult. A Defence position might make it easier, though. PM me if you want any specific advice or information.
  4. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Years ago I was told that more convicts were sent to Virginia and the Carolinas than to Australia; it was easier and cheaper for the Brits to send them across the Atlantic than halfway round the world, but a little fracas in ~1776 put an end to THAT. :D

    Nowadays, it's the future convicts in Parliament that I worry about, not the descendents of convicts!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Once you've created Congress, you no longer need a fresh supply of criminals.
  6. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation covers "Parliament Question Time" at 2 pm every day that Parliament is in session. It's the only reality show I watch.

    I just wish it had the phone numbers scrolling across the bottom: "To vote off Rep Albanese, call 1-800-555-1234. To vote off Rep Alexander, call 1-800-555-1235. To vote off..."
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  7. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    One of these days I'm going to get there. Australia has long been on my list of places to visit.

    And I have about a dozen online friends in Sydney and Melbourne to meet! :)
  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Hubby has always wanted to go, badly. I'd like to, too, but of course now it's out of the question.
  9. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    Thank you for all of the information, it is helpful.

    Regarding the highlighted above, that would be AWESOME! Talk about holding the morons accountable. I don't watch reality shows, but that one I would watch daily.
  10. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Two years ago I was flying from Canberra to Melbourne and was being met at the airport by a business associate. Imagine my surprise when he greeted me as I walked off the plane in Melbourne.

    How quickly we forget the simple aspects of travel that we have forsaken in the name of security.

    For that same flight, I printed out my boarding pass at a kiosk in Canberra and did not have to show ID to anyone.
  11. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    If you have access to BBC here (most cable & satellite networks), you can watch the British version. It's great to watch the PM in the hotseat.
  12. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Someday. I absolutely believe this will not last forever.
  13. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    It's actually entertaining in a bizarre sort of way. Growing up in DC, my parents took me to see Congress in session and I found it boring (and okay, I was probably eight years old ;)). But in the Australian Parliament, they shout at each other and blow raspberries and boo (regularly), and the Speaker spends most of the time say "Order!"and threatening to toss various Members out of the chamber. I find it hilarious that school kids go there on field trips; the so-called leaders of the country demonstrate every behavior that teachers would punish.

    "Question Time" is, as the name suggests, a period every (?) afternoon where any Member can ask the Prime Minister or other members of the cabinet questions. Mostly these are from the opposition probing into whatever crisis or scandal or just stupid decision the Gov't has made, but some are from Members of the majority party with setups like "Can the Minister for Education describe the program to improve public high schools?"

    Sunny, Lisa, jtodd, (and anyone else) hope you can visit (or work here!); please let me know if you're coming this way. First TUG Sydney Do!!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.

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