The man’s actions on Saturday morning were spotted by officials monitoring CCTV footage. They chose to evacuate the terminal, forcing dozens of flights to be delayed for around an hour.
A Qantas spokeswoman confirmed the incident. “The man disembarked a flight and left. It appears he wasn't paying attention, was looking at his iPad, forgot something and walked back past (the security area),” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The man – who has not been named - was later allowed to board his flight.
The breach only affected flights from Terminal 3, all of which are domestic. Affected passengers on Twitter reported “carnage”, with all fliers required to return to the main building and pass through the security screening area a second time.
The terror threat in Australia was raised to “high” earlier this month. Tony Abbott, the prime minister, said travellers should expect additional security checks.
They should also look up from their iPads every once in a while.
Annoying passengers can ruin even the shortest trips on public transport, but few people would have come close to the experience of a TV executive who was stuck behind the "worst person in the world" on a long-haul flight this week.