Faster security queues as Sydney Airport rolls out new ‘3D’ scanners

Time-saving security scanners are now in place at Terminal 3.

By Matt Lennon, August 1 2022
Faster security queues as Sydney Airport rolls out new ‘3D’ scanners
Executive Traveller exclusive

Travellers on domestic Qantas and QantasLink flights from Sydney Airport can now scoot straight through the security checkpoint without having to remove laptops and tablets, liquids, aerosols and gels from their carry-on bags.

Sydney Airport has completed the rollout of new 3D scanning technology to the main entry at Terminal 3, following its introduction in May at T3’s secondary screening checkpoint snuck away to the left of the terminal.

Similar time-saving tech is already in place at Melbourne T4 along with domestic and international terminals at airports including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Melbourne Avalon.

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.

An improved explosive detection mechanism could even see the end of those additional 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.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 896

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 148

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 11

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 7

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

24 Feb 2022

Total posts 2

You are right!!!

No it won't get any better!

It sounds great in theory but the reality is, it is much slower!

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 75

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

22 May 2011

Total posts 87

I believe they’re also in use at OOL

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 348

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 56

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 83

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 29

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 7

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 1013

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 21

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 28

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

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 313

Was able to leave my laptop in my bag at PER T3 three weeks ago.


09 May 2020

Total posts 541

Sure, but the body scanner is the pain in the arse and even if you do things ready and right it’s definitely slower in the human end so no time saving there

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2017

Total posts 37

This is actually a pain in the a**!! The computer decides if it finds anything it doesn't like (not a human) and its automatically deferred onto a secondary belt that queues up. Last time in Sydney it got me, I was held up for 10 mins while old mate security worker was arguing with the bag before mine about what was in the bag. Mine of course was nothing, I think it was hairspray can overlying some electronics nearby in the bag. Stupid.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 43

Much of the screening nonsense could be avoided by:

1. Having more staff on duty

2. Training staff how to use the equipment, and making sure it is calibrated properly.  There should be international standards for this, so that what passes in one airport is not rejected at another.  That just drives me demented.  Melbourne seems to be worst with this nonsense.

3. Setting up a dedicated area BEFORE you get anywhere near both the luggage scanner and the body scanner or metal detector.  This needs to be an area with benches/tables where people are INSTRUCTED to take off coats, belts, jewellery etc, completely  empty their pockets.  They should also, when necessary remove laptops, kindles, tablets and other electronics from their bags., and have their LAGP's out and ready.  No-one passes that point until they have done everything as required.  I know it is not perfect as someone will find a way to upset the apple cart, I just wish those people would find a new hobby to challenge themselves.

The problem is letting unprepared people get anywhere near the scanners.  They are the ones that hold up the queues.  This is just a simple logistics problem which I could sort out very quickly.  Why these people at the airport want to create work, stress, and suffer constant abuse from passengers is completely unfathomable to me.   

I am sure I am not the only reader here who arrives at the airport with nothing in his pockets other than wallet and passport, no belt, no shoes with metal in them (don't know about women's shoes, but some men's shoes have a metal shank in the sole for strengthening), LAGP and electronics in a plastic bag at the top of my backpack ready take out and put in a tray at the scanner.  At the airport I put my phone, wallet, passport etc in my backpack and that's it.  Of course, despite the precautions the security staff see it as a challenge to stop you when that can't find anything.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Apr 2018

Total posts 5

Well they just need to do something, anything. T2 is an absolute basket case.

The explanation that it is staffing related doesn't wash with me when all security screening lanes are open and passenger numbers are still, as far as understand it, below the same month pre covid. Certainly the check in queues are no worse in my observation. 

The only discernable differences in air travel I have found this year (cancellations, delays and masks aside) are:

1. That there seems to be more people carting "suitcases or worse 2 suitcases" on board leading to no overhead locker space (I hate you by the way)- I wonder if the airlines have changed fares and have driven this change and the extra bags are driving the additional delays at security.

2. The media in their rush to the next doomsday story  have started to talk about the delays and security lines thus amplifying the issue through having the 11am travellers turning up at 6am. 

Sydney airport needs to get something sorted given their monopoly is soon to come to end.


25 Feb 2018

Total posts 3

3D body scanners are a pain. I had back surgery as a child and end up needing to be patted down. They usually get a bit embarrassed as I am a middle aged woman and insist I try to be rescanned first. Letters from doctors don’t help. You just have to be good humoured about it.

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