Brisbane Airport moves international terminal pick-up zone

By Chris C., November 21 2017
Brisbane Airport moves international terminal pick-up zone

Travellers arriving into Brisbane Airport's international terminal and being collected by friends or family won't be impressed by the new pick-up area which opens Thursday November 23.

Rather than being located at the terminal itself – as with the soon-to-be-closed pick-up road, conveniently found straight ahead as you exit customs – passengers will instead need to follow a maze of signs through the terminal and then outside, to reach the new collection point.

What's more, much of the walk to the new pick-up area isn't yet undercover: so if it's raining and you didn't pack an umbrella, prepare for a soaking.

Not impressed? Neither are we, although Brisbane Airport Corporation tells Australian Business Traveller that this walkway will be covered in the coming weeks, in 'Stage 2' of the transition.

In any case, here’s what arriving passengers need to do from November 23:

  1. After clearing customs, begin by taking the lifts or travelators down to the ground floor (level 1).
  2. Proceed outside, following the signs to ‘passenger pick-up’.
  3. Veer left through a covered walkway.
  4. When you see parked cars, turn right and follow the open-air pathway, keeping your fingers crossed that it isn’t raining. It’d make sense to have the pick-up area here, but this is a just car park – you’re not there yet!
  5. Veer left at the end of the pathway.
  6. Cross the road to reach a traffic island.
  7. Turn right on the traffic island and cross a second road.
  8. Wander forward and left, underneath the Airtrain bridges, to find the pick-up roadway and your driver.

Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Head of Parking and Transport Services, Martin Ryan, oddly describes the change as “providing a more efficient experience for all”.

We're not sure arriving passengers will appreciate the new convoluted process, particularly after stepping off a long-haul flight.

It's so complicated that BAC has created a 1.5-minute instructional video to help travellers make sense of the new procedure.

While you shouldn't need to watch a video to learn how to get into a car, here we go:

On pick-up duty instead? As you approach the terminal, follow the green ‘passenger pick-up’ signage, and take a ticket as you approach the boom gates.

During peak times – typically 7-11am and 6-8pm – drivers will not be allowed to stop unless the passenger they’re collecting is ready and waiting, with ‘kerbside officers’ on duty to move stopped cars along.

Outside of these times, drivers can stop inside the pick-up zone for up to 10 minutes, while remaining with their vehicle.

No charge applies if you're inside the pick-up zone for less than 10 minutes, but stay longer and “fees will apply”.

If your passenger isn't ready for collection, you can exit and re-enter the pick-up zone as many times as you like, provided you exit before the 10-minute timer is up each time.

Still not sure about the process? There's a two-minute instructional video for drivers, too:

Ryan justifies the move by sharing that “traffic on the Level 2 (arrivals) roadway has grown to be chaotic and unpleasant for drivers and passengers alike, as well as being unsustainable for the passenger growth expected in the future.”

“The narrow roadway at the terminal face was not designed to cope with the amount of traffic we’re currently experiencing and expect in the future, so we needed to find another solution.”

While a further walk from the terminal than the current pick-up road, the new zone does at least have more space for vehicles to stop, with room for 16 vehicles as opposed to three at present.

Passengers with disabilities won’t be required to use the new pick-up area, and can instead take the lifts up to level four, for collection from the airport’s main departures road, which remains in its current location nearby check-in.

Pick-up points for taxis, buses, Ubers and limousines remain in their current locations for international passengers, with no change for passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport's domestic terminal.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

JPeuty Banned
JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

What an absolute gee-up from the lads over at BAC!!! You would have thought that they learned their lesson from the domestic terminal pick-up zone debacle a few years ago. I hope you gave them a piece of your mind Chris!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 53

Following the Sydney Domestic and International pick up approach - make it as ugly and as hard as possible.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 316

Wow unbelievable. Imagine all the international pax with multiple bags.. you have to even cross roads! I’m sure that’s real safe for international visitors. What a joke.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 700

So whats to stop people from picking people up in the drop-off area?

I have a feeling that this mess it now going make people do this type of thing.

JPeuty Banned
JPeuty Banned

07 Nov 2017

Total posts 29

Have you ever been to BNE airport? The traffic enforcers are shrewd and aggressive operators. They will spot you coming from a mile away.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 700

Yes, I live in Brisbane (and have been to the airport) and yes I've seen them around but I've never had any problems with them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 11

Agreed, most I have encountered are aggressive and rude, so I now use the Sunshine Coast airport where possible as it is nearer, although most flights are dearer than from Brisbane.

09 May 2011

Total posts 23

What a joke! And this from an airport which is trying to impress with it tourism credentials. Why oh why is this country so stringy and backward minded with its airports (and other pieces of key infrastructure). Just take a look at how it's done in places like Singapore, Tokyo and Frankfurt and pick the best practice. And as for opening it without a covered walkway, epic fail.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

Brisbane Airport: shambolic as usual.

18 Oct 2015

Total posts 28

Reading this just makes me irate! Stupid greedy corporate idiots! Airports should be seen as a pro-passenger assett. BAC don't deserve to run the airport & should return it to the government or someone who would run it better. There isn't a single efficiency gained from this stupid endeavour & the fact that they think there is demonstrates how out of touch they are.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 57

They may as well also put up some shops around the walkway, and charge a pick-up fee regardless you park or not

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 75

Golly, how silly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

Simpler Fairer


Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 157

Anyone ever see the episode of "Yes Minister" where the plan was to open a new hospital that would have no patients? Patients would just get in the way of hospital administration. Maybe BAC are working towards an airport with no passengers, much more efficient.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jul 2017

Total posts 6

No charge applies if you're inside the pick-up zone for less than 10 minutes, but stay longer and “fees will apply”.

Well, with enough people sitting around in the pick up area on the phone to the passengers they are picking up trying to explain where they are and which way to go... Sounds like it could be a nice little earner for BAC.

They've shunted Uber out of the way to the left, and now pick-ups out of the way to the right. It's almost as if they really, really want everyone using the overpriced parking right out in front.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jan 2017

Total posts 1

I should imagine the Car Park will do quite well out of this. I hope they keep the $15 for 2 hour special

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 32

One has to wonder how on earth they come up with these hare-brained schemes? And leaving the coverings off the walkways until phase 2! What a joke.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 105

It a money brag. Just like what they did with Domestic when they tried to get everyone to go to pick up in the car park.

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

16 Jun 2017

Total posts 35

Jeez, and I thought ADL was bad with pickup and drop off in the same spot.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

The vast majority of passengers, save for the elderly, disabled and those with large amounts of luggage should be able to use public transport to and from Australia's airports.

This is the model used in many cities overseas.

Our obsession in driving everywhere in one's own motor car imposes huge costs on society. It isn't possible for an airport to accommodate every meeter and greeter who wants to arrive or depart by private car and nor should airports.

Do all the whingers above drive in to Roma St or Brissy Central stations to pick up passengers? I bet they don't. Why should an airport that in BNE's case has a railway line with trains (except in the mid evening to stumps, and perhaps not for initial domestic departures in the morning) be different?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Aug 2017

Total posts 11

The key difference between overseas cities and Brisbane is that AirTrain (and Sydney Airport similarly) have an exorbitant station access fee in addition to your fare to the city! Whilst we able-bodied people may have the ability to use public transport, getting gouged at the same time is beyond the pale.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 May 2017

Total posts 4

Not only is the drop off area for Domestic flights a shambles this new International pick-up is a disgrace. It beggars belief that some genius has come up with this nonsense. No wonder I only fly internationally into Sydney or Melbourne

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2017

Total posts 12

What an absolute joke! As someone who regularly flies in and out of Brisbane on short trips to NZ and also picks up people regularly from there, this is beyond me. Yes the current pick up area gets overcrowded in peak times, but this solution is just ridiculous, makes it stupidly hard for passengers and tourists/guests arriving in BNE. Would rather stick with the current traffic cue any day

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