You can now leave laptops, liquids, gels in your bag at Sydney Airport

Time-saving 3D security scanners make their welcome debut at Qantas’ Terminal 3.

By Matt Lennon, May 24 2022
You can now leave laptops, liquids, gels in your bag at Sydney Airport
Executive Traveller exclusive

Want to shave valuable time off your next visit to Sydney Airport’s Terminal 3, ahead of catching a Qantas or QantasLink flight?

When you enter the terminal, cast a quick glance to your far left, towards the small security checkpoint tucked away opposite the priority baggage check-in zone.

Usually open during peak hours, this little-known security lane is favoured by Qantas crew as well as clued-in frequent flyers – and now there’s one more reason to choose it over the much busier central security area.

Sydney Airport recently equipped this checkpoint with new 3D scanning technology which lets you leave laptops, tablets, liquids, aerosols and gels inside your carry-on bags.

A spokesperson for Sydney Airport tells Executive Traveller the same computer tomography (CT) scanners, which provide a rotating high-resolution view deep inside cabin bags – instead of the flat two-dimensional imaging of conventional scanners – will be rolled out to the main T3 security area by the end of this year, in time for December’s peak travel season.

There’s no arguing this is better late than never – the ‘smart lane’ systems would certainly have helped reduce April’s lengthy Easter holiday queues – and similar systems are already in place at Melbourne T4 along with domestic and international terminals at airports including Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Melbourne Avalon.

An improved explosive detection mechanism could even see the end of those extra random post-security swab checks.

However, travellers will still need to remove extra layers such as jackets and belts along with items from their pockets before passing through security.

The Sydney Airport spokesperson declined to comment when or if these advanced scanners would be introduced at Sydney’s T1 international terminal and T2, from which Virgin Australia, Jetstar and other smaller airlines operate.

The upgrade at Sydney Airport comes some four years after the federal government directed all Australian airports which are required to screen travellers to update their systems.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 788

That's amazing I've been existing close by that security point for decades and I thought it was special access point for staff only. The short cut exist also has a short cut entry.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 127

It's such a strange thing to get excited about. But I really am genuinely exited about this sensible measure. I suppose two decades of enhanced security theatre..........oops sorry! I meant to say enhanced security 'screening', will do that to you ;)

The upgrade is already underway for the main security area of T3. You'll find when passing through that the area has been walled up and a temporary one is currently in place in front of it.

Hopefully will be ready sooner then end of year.


03 Aug 2020

Total posts 8

Perhaps it was just teething issues but I used this lane last Sunday week ago. I was 16th in line and it took just over 9 minutes to reach the front on the line and perhaps another 2-3 minutes to complete the process. I’m sure it is intended to be a much quicker process so let’s hope they can iron out whatever issues they are having so that it does become a lot quicker.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 6

I’ve been through there twice in the last week, and both times it was a shemozzle. The tech seems to work fine, but the operators are not quite into a routine. Lots of disgruntled people this morning, partly due to a backlog of bags that tested positive, and partly due to conflicting instructions on wearing/removing belts and boots. 

It is nice not to have to remove everything from your bag, but my two visits were not faster than the old routine. 

I’m sure that will improve.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

The new scanners are also in use at BNE International terminal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 70

When oh when is MEL T2 going to get it!! 

22 May 2011

Total posts 75

I believe they’re also in use at OOL

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 333

They finally reopened it!  Have been using this for years when flying Qantas T3 from Sydney  Much quicker, even than the "Priority" "Business" central entry point.  Now to get us to fly Qantas again........

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 53

Flying out of Brisbane.. Qantas have a separate area for premium travelers with this screening. Helps me as I have had a hip replacement. Flew out of Sydney earlier this month and was told that they would be opening the new screening area in a few weeks. Great to see that they are catching up. Adelaide had one for premium passengers last year. Internationally they are slowly being rolled out (Bangkok for one).   The US in 2030????

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 81

Some US cities have had this technology for years, but in my experience you need to be "awarded" TSA Pre-check to access it. For example in Philadelphia, where I've never encountered a queue at TSA Pre-check even if there's a huge line at the regular screening point. No need to take out laptops or liquids, no need to take off shoes, jackets or belts. You just put your bag on the belt, walk through the metal detector and you're on your way. As the guy in front of me said, "It's like the old days!".

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 23

They’re not timesaving. They’ve had them in Newcastle for quite some time now and it takes forever to get through them. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2017

Total posts 27

This was my experience recently at Newcastle.  Told to "leave everything in your bags... do not take anything out"

I put my cap & jacket in a tray also.

Was told to put my hat back on?

Asked about my watch & belt...  was told...  see how it goes.

Get to the stand-and-spread screening... told to take hat off ?

I had a tissuein one my front pockets.   You'd have thought it was a b**b.   They lost their tiny minds.

Pulled aside, asked to remove all items from pockets.  Asked again about my watch & belt.  Told to go back and stand and spread.  Took easily 2+ minutes before they let me go.

Meanwhile, the WHOLE line is backed up behind the single people screening point in use.

Same same but different happened to people ahead, and behind me in the line.

The actual fancy bag-scanning machine seemed to be doing a GREAT job... everyones' bags were waiting there for several minutes before the actual people came through the back-scatter screening. 

Not sure how long they had been using this equipment...  but I'd day they need improvement in the processes and workflow.

17 Jan 2018

Total posts 6

Whilst the scan itself is quick and easy, the small amount of bags that are able to be collected at a time and the delays caused by other passengers getting held up by shoes, belt etc when going through the more picky mm wave scanner (instead of xray) mean a lot of waiting at the other side of the belt...

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1037

Now they need to upgrade screening and get rid of the pointless body scanners.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 22

I used it last Saturday and can't wait to not use it again for a while. It was much slower than standard domestic security screening because of the number of people who had tissues, or handkerchiefs in their otherwise empty pockets. (After the USA, this is normal for seasoned business travelers overseas, but still unfamiliar here.) The number of people who did not understand "please remove your belts" was too large. This will become normal in the future, but it was a problem last Saturday. Not to mention people trying to remove their laptops and then putting them back into their briefcases. Again, this will improve over time. But for now, there needs to be a better way of explaining what to do.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 25

Also operating in CBR along with full body scanners.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 214

Most of the domestic screening area for Qantas in Perth is also behind walls at the moment, so hopefully that is getting an upgrade at the moment, especially as there are only 2 points open at present so makes for quite a wait at busy times. 

17 Jun 2022

Total posts 1

Great post Et... Now that you published this it will no longer be quicker. Hope you'll get stuck there with your readers next time you fly

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