Domestic flying in Australia.

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  • rferguson

    Hi folks,

    Recently had a little hop around Australia using Qantas, mostly in J. SUPERB business class product BTW.

    One thing I just could not get my head around was the lack of needing ANY ID to get from kerbside to onboard the aircraft.

    I first noticed this the last time I visited Australia but convinced myself that in fact I must have produced photo ID somewhere along the line and forgot. SO this time I was much more observant.

    So my first flight I checked in at the self service kiosk using my PNR which printed out my boarding pass. I had no baggage on any flight. The kiosks to not require a scan of any ID.

    Proceed to security – anyone can go airside at an Australian domestic terminal. It’s not restricted to passengers. So obviously no boarding pass or ID check. As an aside what I found amusing is there is a ‘fast track’ lane for Business/FF top tiers but as noone checks your boarding pass anyone can use it. And a REAL treat – no liquid restrictions airside.

    Arrive in lounge. Boarding pass scanned.

    Proceed to gate – and it’s here that I had my passport out convinced that i’d be asked to present it along with my boarding pass. In the line I observed the passengers moving swiftly through the gate – no ID being checked or names matched to the boarding card.

    The following four sectors were a mirror.

    I was really surprised by this. Firstly, obviously from a security perspective. But also it is so easy to take advantage of frequent flyer status if you were so inclined. For example – A mate that holds no FF status could book a ticket in Y in my name and using my Emerald status have access to all the perks associated with it. Also, if you wanted to be really devious you could quite easily book all your friends and family tickets in your name and for those that do not bother collect the Tier/Status points. Obviously there is a risk of being caught but they are also making it very easy and attractive for some schemers.

    The site actually stipulates that you must bring photo ID with you to the airport. But it seems this is more a ‘in case you might be asked’ than a ‘you will need to present it’.

    Struck me as odd!


    rferguson, this is not any different to flying domestic BA where no ID is required on point-to-point services – if transiting to international at LHR, there is a passport check, at check-in, in the Lounge or at the gate. So, yes, a no-status passenger could ‘borrow’ your Emerald identity and travel Glasgow – London and make use of the Lounge as well.


    Hi rferguson
    You’re right to an extent. I remember not needing to present my passport on what I dubbed the Qantastic tour of Oz.
    Loads of internal flights without the need of ID (pre9/11) until the last leg between Cairns and Sydney .

    Early start from Port Douglas and one of my mates makes the stupid mistake of checking- in one bag with all his wordly belongings inside.
    Arriving in Sydney the 747 from Cairns parks up outside the International terminal and we have to go through immigration and customs.
    Hung over and confused he has to explain why he doesn’t have a passport.
    Much easier to explain is why there are so many natives of Nagoya flying between Cairns and Sydney!!


    Yes, I too recently enjoyed a Qantastic itinerary around parts of Oz recently. What struck me even more – to the extent that I had to have the confirmation of this from the duty free shop manager in PER – was that that there is no 100ml limit on liquids on Oz domestic flights. This came after the saga at DOH of a long line of pax having their sealed duty frees being taken off them at the connecting flights security queue. This is followed immediately thereafter by the DOH duty free sales point selling exactly the same items.

    Two other things occurred during my itinerary. Not being overly tall and leggy, I was struck at the serious lack of leg room in Jetstar: pretty uncomfortable and reason enough to travel with either Virgin Oz or QF mainline where there is the option. Then there was the determined attempt to clamp down hard on excessive carry-on baggage with Jetstar. Every item at the gate was put into the bag gauge and then weighed for conformity. A credit card terminal was on hand for oversized/weight and excessive numbers of carry-ons. Very thorough – and a point was comprehensively made.


    The no ID issue in Australia also encourages fraud. Easy to purchase a ticket in someone else’s name using their credit card details and nobody is the wiser, especially if it’s purchased same day as travel. This was a big issue at a company I worked for in Sydney for years.


    Alex_F – good point and I suspect it would also apply to BA domestic. I cannot see any impediments to fraud here. Flying from Heathrow and Gatwick, a photo record is taken of domestic passengers so that might have value retrospectively but this is not the case when flying to London. Can anyone clarify?


    I’ve always understood that the reason security is relatively light touch for Australian domestic services is that very few aircraft would carry sufficient fuel to leave Australian airspace and land safely somewhere else. SYD-PER might but the alternative would be New Zealand, PER-SYD might make Singapore – where of course hijack would probably incur the death penalty, a few places on the north coast might make Indonesia where there is also the death penalty. So unless you have 9/11 style hijackers, something thankfully never repeated then Australia is a very safe place to travel.

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