Lengthy queues at outbound passport control in Australia’s major airports will soon be a thing of the past, with Customs’ new eGate trial already saving Brisbane travellers valuable time when crossing the border.
Currently available to passengers bound for Los Angeles with Qantas or for New Zealand with both Qantas and Air NZ, using the eGates is a breeze.
After clearing security at Brisbane Airport, you begin by placing your passport flat on a glass plate that automatically slides into the reader – no separate kiosks to worry about and no SmartGate-like tickets to lose.
After around ten seconds your passport is returned, and the first of two gates will open. Step forward to reach the next gate:
You’ll then spot a camera to the side which automatically moves up or down to meet your eye line – look directly into it as you would at SmartGate, and then take quick peek at the immediately-adjacent screen to see how good or bad your hair looks today.
Once a photograph has been captured, you’ll wait another ten seconds or so while it processes your departure details. Then the final gate opens, and you’ll present your boarding pass and hand your outgoing passenger card to a waiting Customs agent before cooling your heels in the lounge.
Prior to a recent Qantas flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles, I timed the whole process: from collecting my cabin bag at the security checkpoint to being completely airside took but 55 seconds.
Although eligible for the (human-processed) Express lane at passport control, with roughly ten Express passengers already queued up and many more waiting at the regular desks, I was through before they’d had a chance to shuffle forward – making the new eGates a real winner in my book.
So if you’re travelling on QF15, QF123, QF125 or with Air New Zealand over the coming months from Brisbane Airport, be sure to stop by the eGates and try them out for yourself before they start appearing in other major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne from “mid-2015”.
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