Check-in crash causes havoc at Sydney airport

Sydney Airport is in chaos after passengers have been left stranded due to a power outage that crashed the check-in terminals.

The terminal check-in system failed at 9.30 this morning, affecting Virgin, Tiger and JetStar across all three terminals. The outage has disrupted airports Australia wide; Qantas however remains unaffected.

The airlines are now manually checking passengers in for flights scheduled to leave up until 12.55pm.

Queues at Sydney Airport are now more than 50 metres long, snaking outside to the drop-off zone.

Jo Ramsbotham, a former flight attendant, has stood in the same spot in the JetStar check-in queue for half an hour.

She arrived at 10am and heard announcements about a terminal outage minutes later. Her flight is scheduled to depart for Adelaide at 11.05am, she spoke to Fairfax at 11am.

"I fly often and haven't experienced this before. If I was elderly I would have had a nervous breakdown, [we've] been waiting so long," she said.

People are complaining about a lack of announcements, saying the speaker volumes are too low. As more people cram into the terminal, the announcements are rendered inaudible.

Greg Argent and his partner Megan Norman have planned their week-long Gold Coast holiday with another family, and are towing along five children from ages seven to 12.

Their flight JQ408 was supposed to depart at 11am but 40 minutes later they are still waiting to be manually checked in with their holiday plans now in disarray.

"It's a schmozzle, this is terrible," said Mr Argent. "We had plans to go to theme parks this afternoon but now that's all cancelled. This kids are disappointed."

"We got here one and a half hours before our flight. We had to go find someone with an orange uniform to get information," said Ms Norman. "We can't hear the announcements because it's so loud."

The outage also means passengers who want to purchase different flight tickets are unable to do so.

A few elderly passengers who have stood in line at JetStar for more than an hour are now being prioritised.

Westpac banker Craig Ward, his wife Kathleen and their two young sons, a four year old and a one year old, have waited in line for an hour to board their JetStar flight and start their Sunshine Coast holiday.

They're one of the many families with young children standing in the queue.

"I noticed that a few passengers, because they were elderly or sick, were prioritised," he said. "I also think families with young children should be prioritised."