More than 200 Qantas passengers were escorted off a plane and through to airport security on Wednesday night after a screening issue was discovered mid-flight.
Passengers on Qantas flight 487 from Sydney to Melbourne learned that one person inadvertently bypassed screening at Sydney airport before boarding the plane.
On landing, those on board were met by Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police officers who escorted them directly to airport security.
They were all made to be re-screened in Melbourne after a single passenger managed to board the plane without going through the right process.
One passenger, journalist Patrick Durkin, said they were told the flight was deemed an "unscreened flight".
"Qantas flight QF487 Syd - Melb just landed deemed unscreened flight," he Tweeted at about 9:30 pm on Wednesday.
"All 200+ passengers will be escorted by AFP, Vic Police, security - no toilet stops - to security screening. Flight attendant never heard it happening over 20 years flying."
People 'disturbed' by gun-wielding police
Sharing pictures of the delay, another passenger said staff were screened too, but "surprisingly, only 10 minutes later we were escorted by AFP to the arrivals hall, when we were free to go."
Photos shared online show the AFP standing around armed with guns. Durkin told Seven News that "everyone was a bit disturbed by that"
While the delays didn't appear to be long, the incident did impact other flights.
"Stuck on QF 481, at the gate. Not allowed off until QF487 are cleared from terminal apparently," one person wrote on Twitter.
Just got off Qantas flight QF487, Sydney to Melbourne. Held up on arrival, apparently we were on a “unscreened aircraft”. All passengers and crew to be screened; AFP here as well. 😐 #Qantas pic.twitter.com/T0uXxan8lp
— Derek Wells (@DerekWells427) September 7, 2022
Passengers out now - not too painful in the end. Told someone, somehow not security screened at Sydney Airport.
— Patrick Durkin (@patrickdurkin) September 7, 2022
Qantas to 'investigate' screening failure
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Qantas spokesperson said they will "investigate to understand how this incident occurred" and apologised for "any inconvenience to passengers on the flight."
"A passenger on a Sydney to Melbourne service (QF487) boarded the flight after inadvertently passing from an ‘unscreened’ to a ‘screened’ part of the airport in Sydney," they explained.
"As a precaution, all passengers on QF487 were escorted from the aircraft when it landed in Melbourne and taken through the screened part of the airport into the unscreened area – thereby compromising the secure section of the Melbourne terminal, which would have required all passengers who had already been through security to be re-screened."
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