Trying out Sydney Airport’s secret security screening gate

Sign promoting additional screening gate at T2

I got a surprise when I left Domestic Airport station in Sydney this morning and entered Terminal 2 for my Virgin flight.

On auto-pilot, I turned left at the top of the escalator to head upstairs, when an airport staff member stopped me.

“It’s pretty busy upstairs and there’s another security gate over there, you can use that one.”

So I did.

This isn’t a new security area. It’s the one near the downstairs cluster of G-branded departure gates used by Rex, FlyPelican and other smaller airlines.

It’s more likely you recognise the area from the upstairs entrance, where it’s the fastest way out if you’re coming from the Jetstar gates and adjacent to Sydney’s Rex Lounge.

Angus Kidman near the G-gates cluster

Historically, this gate has mostly been used for passengers arriving from regional locations where security screening doesn’t happen, who need a quick way to get screened before connecting to another flight.

But with travel numbers up, right now Sydney Airport needs every gate it can get. So now there’s signage promoting that this option is available, assuming you have checked in online (of course!) and only have carry-on (naturally).

There was still a queue, to the consternation of some of my fellow passengers. “I thought they said this would be quicker,” one grumbled. That’s airports in the morning for you, buddy.

A queue at the downstairs gate

T2 still requires you take your laptop out (unlike T3), and that’s the case both downstairs and upstairs.

Despite all that, I was still through in 5 minutes, and I very much doubt that would have been the case at the main gates.

So I’ll be keeping this one in mind next time I’m flying Virgin or Jetstar. It’s open between 0500 (which is earlier than I can ever get to the airport from home) and 1850, so that’s fine for anything other than a late evening flight. And really, why would I risk one of those from Sydney?

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