Being organised is always a good idea, but in the case of international travel, disorganisation can stand between you and your holiday.
No one wants to sit in a plane seat for the next 24 hours in a lather of sweat because their airport experience was more rushed than a late-night shopping experience on Christmas Eve.
Start your holiday stress-free and in control, with these tips for first time international flyers, which will have you navigating BNE like a boss.
TIP 1: Check your passport
A passport is your gateway to the world, but there is one catch – it can’t be expired or too close to expiry before travel. Each country has different requirements for passport expiration, so make sure you check your final destination well in advance. Remember, no passport = no international travel.
TIP 2: Get there early
Every airport and airline is a little bit different, so we recommend checking with your airline before you fly to find out what time you should arrive for your flight. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to arrive at Brisbane Airport's International Terminal three hours before your departure time, as you need more time than a domestic flight to pass security and passport control. More time airside also means more time duty free shopping, just sayin’.
TIP 3: Know your weights
Each airline has different baggage restrictions, so it pays to know how much you can check-in to avoid excess baggage charges (if you need to double-check your allowance with your airline, do it now). At Brisbane Airport there are also scales to test your suitcases weight prior to check in, handy in case you need to offload a few items to loved ones before flying out.
TIP 4: Get familiar with the rules around Powders, Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (PLAGS)
Unlike domestic flights, when you’re flying internationally your carry-on bags will undergo an additional check for powders, liquids, aerosols and gels.
You’re allowed to carry up to 100ml of each onto the flight (FYI, there are a raft of exceptions like baby food that you can read about over here), which need to be presented for screening in a transparent bag.
The regulations around PLAGS mean you can’t carry through a full water bottle, a sneaky bottle of wine or salon-size bottle of body lotion, no matter how precious they are to you.
Decant your plane essentials into smaller containers on the flight, and bag up toiletries that you’ll need on the flight like roll on deodorant, instant hand sanitiser and moisturiser into a snap lock bag ready to travel. If you don’t have a sandwich bag, we’ve got you covered with spares just prior to security.
TIP 5: Get organised so you whiz through security screening faster
We get it, you just want to be on your way to downing a pre-flight beverage but a long line at security is in your way.
Get organised before your flight by removing anything on this list of prohibited items from your carry-on bag before you even arrive at the airport. Some of them are no-brainers (no, you cannot travel with an axe) but some of them are easier to miss. For example, your aerosol deodorant is a no-no on international flights.
While you’re queuing at security, cross check your carry-on again and remove anything you may have forgotten to dispose of like water bottles. When you get to the front of the line you’ll be ready to saunter through security like an old hat at this international travel business.
You can expect your carry-on bag and body to be scanned just as it would at the Domestic Terminal, however in addition, the International Terminal also uses body scanning. You may be asked to step through a full body x-ray style machine that uses harmless heat detection to examine your body.
TIP 6: Express passport control
Your passport doesn’t just get a workout when your arrive into a country, you’ll have to use it for international departure too. At passport control, if you have an electronic passport (the front few pages of your passport will tell you if you’re an e-passport holder), you’ll be able to skip the cue and process with self-service check in. It’s very easy, follow the prompts, get your photo taken and proceed to the counter to collect your first stamp in your passport.
Manual passport control still operates at Brisbane Airport, so feel free to join that queue if you think that’s more for you.
TIP 7: Enjoy your time at the airport
Now that you’re through security, you’re officially on holiday time. Inside the airport, it’s always after five somewhere in the world so why not enjoy the spoils of a glass of something frothy to celebrate your trip. Follow our guide to find where cocktail hour is happening near you.
Fuel up with a pre-flight meal that will blow any greasy assumptions you may have had about airport food out of the water with a meal at Windmill & Co, Botanist Kitchen and Bar, Brisbane River Grill or Corretto Café & Bar.
Make the most of the shopping scene before your flight and hit the shelves of Lotte Duty Free to bag a bargain or pick up a last minute gift.