What to expect at the airport

Find out about airport procedures and how you can prepare to make sure your trip goes to plan.

Before your flight

There are things you need to do when you arrive at the airport before you can get on your flight.

Getting to the airport

Aim to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your international flight is due to depart. You should plan enough time to check in and pass through security screenings. Times can change during peak periods, consider checking the airline details to allow enough time before your flight.

Flight delays and cancellations

Sometimes there may be disruptions to flights. Most airlines will contact you by email or SMS if there are changes to your flight. You can also view up to date flight departure times on the websites of most major airports.

Checking in

When you arrive at the airport you need to check in with the airline you’re flying with. Some airlines also allow you to check in online 24 hours before your flight. When you’ve checked in you’ll get a physical or digital boarding pass.

Baggage drop

Your airline determines the number of bags and weight of each item you can check and carry on a flight. This information is usually provided at the time of booking. Your checked baggage will be screened before it’s loaded onto the plane to make sure the contents are safe to fly.

Passenger screening

All departing passengers must be screened by security. You can learn about the screening process to help get through security quickly. Find out more about passenger screening on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Your carry-on luggage will also be screened by security. There are strict rules about what items you can take on a plane and the quantity of some items for international flights. Find out more about what items you can and can’t take on a plane and travelling with powders, liquids, aerosols and gels on the Department of Home Affairs website.

You can also learn about dangerous goods on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website.

Travelling with specific needs

There’s information to help travellers with special circumstances, including travelling with children, on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Other help

There are other resources that can help you prepare to travel by air. These links will take you away from myGov.

  • Travel tips

    You can get tips to help you prepare to travel by air on the Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Travelling by air

    You can find helpful information about air travel on the Smartraveller website.

Page last updated: 5 February 2024