We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Sydney International Airport

Which Sydney hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Topic
Sydney International Airport

Hi,

I'm looking for advice from those familiar with the Sydney airport. My fiance and I will be arrive on a flight from the US to Sydney at 7:50 am local time (assuming no delays). I need to book a connecting flight from Sydney to Cairns for our final destination. Looking at the Virgin Blue schedule, they offer a 10:05 am flight from Sydney.

Is it possible to make it thru customs, luggage pick up, and from the international terminal to the domestic terminal in 2 hours?

Can anyone suggest another low cost airline that may offer a different schedule? We are looking for the lowest cost flight as possible.

Thanks!

gk
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
2,280 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Sydney International Airport

That's definitely cutting it close! I reckon it all has to do with how fast you get past immigration control. Maybe someone who has been through recently can tell you? Customs in the US took an hour and a half for me to clear, and it's usually about half an hour in Heathrow.

There are some later flights:

1:10pm - $152 on Qantas

3:30pm - $219 on Virgin

7:00pm - $219 on Virgin

7:20pm - $152 on Qantas

Those prices may change, but I used http://www.webjet.com.au and put in a date about a month from now. Maybe you can check the exact date you get here.

Sydney
Level Contributor
2,891 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Sydney International Airport

Well, maybe qk knows more than I do on this one, but my own feeling would be that you won't have any trouble at all. I don't think it's ever taken me more than about twenty minutes to go through the customs formalities, and each time I've come in, it has usually been around that time of morning. There are, however, one or two tips I have learned to facilitate the process: 1. Don't check-in any luggage. Wherever we go, regardless of for how long, we only take with us what we can carry into the cabin. It simplifies matters considerably. 2. Even if you have nothing suspicious to declare, always assume that something in your bag WILL be prohibited, and head for the RED counters ("goods to declare") not the green counters ("nothing to declare"). Most times there are queues at the green counters and no waiting at all at the red counters. We even buy a packet of biscuits before we get on the plane so that we have something to hand them ("We're a bit concerned about this").... then they never even ask us to open our bags! (they usually let the biscuits go through, too; I remember one officer saying, "Oh, you can't bring those in,", taking them from us, chgecking the rest of the bags through, and then handing back the packet of biscuits to my nine-year-old daughter as she passed through the gate!)

The international and domestic terminals are only a few minutes apart, and there is a shuttle service (as well as any number of taxis waiting right at the exit). I don't think you'll have much trouble... although, of course, if it's a foggy morning and your plane is diverted to Brisbane, then all bets are off.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
18,716 posts
182 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Sydney International Airport

Possible but I wouldn't try it.

You really only have 1.5 hours to get across to the Domestic and then check in.

Firstly it will depend where you are sitting on your flight and how many flights from and from where arrive at the same time..

Last month we took nearly 20 mins just to get thru Immigration.. they only had 5 counters open as it was a quiet period... 2 jumbos arrived simultaneously...

Our bags were already rotating alround the carousel but they had priority tags... most people were still waiting..

We had an orchid and had to declare it.. the red queue was a similar experience.. only 1 officer on... green queue was nonexistent as it had quite a few officers..within 10 mins it was as long as the red...

The shuttle runs pretty regularly between the two terminals.

Also take into consideration that you will be very tired... need to read directions in the airport... etc.

Your fastest option may be to use the Public train..2 mins ride between the two terminals...

personally I'd go with the 1.10pm... miss the flight and there are no refunds..

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
1,303 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Sydney International Airport

2 hours is cutting it very fine especially if you are not travelling on an australian passport. we came through sydney a couple of months back and the line for non australia residents was over an hour long. also most domestic airlines like you to be checked in 45min to 1hr before departure. id go for a later flight, or even have a night in sydney before going up to cairns.

Scotland
8 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Sydney International Airport

Hi

I was going to ask something similar. I'm booked with Qantas from London through to Adelaide and need to change in Sydney. I only have 1 hour 55 mins to do this. If its all with one airline do they have priority queues or is it a case of joining the mad scrum??

Cheers!

gk
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
2,280 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Sydney International Airport

If your travel agent has booked the connection, you will be okay. You won't have to collect your bags as they'll be transferred automatically. You just have to get yourselves off the plane and to the flight connections transfer.

Scotland
8 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Sydney International Airport

Thanks - I did wonder that but when I looked on the Qantas website, they said I'd have to collect my luggage and recheck it. Did think that strange so will check it out!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
26 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Sydney International Airport

All,

Thanks for the advice, I took the precautionary route and booked a flight later in the day. We will have an 8 hour layover in the Sydney airport.

Can anyone recommend anything we could do for 4-5 hours? Do they have someplace we could check our luggage, then hop in a taxi to go see a nearby sight?

Or, does Sydney International have a hotel onsite that maybe we could rent a room for 4-5 hours to freshen up and grab a quick nap?

Thanks!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Level Contributor
18,716 posts
182 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Sydney International Airport

International terminal has luggage storage at the Northern end about 8AUD per bag up to 6 hrs. Terminal 2 (Virgin and jetstar ) has storage on arrival at 6AUD up to 12hrs

Don't know anything about storage at Qantas terminal 3.

Your best option would be to hop on a train (the station is below the airport terminal) and head into the city. Ten minutes..and you'll be in Circular Quay...if feeling ordinary after the long flight you can rest in Botanic Gardens or find a Coffe venue (near the Opera house there is one right on the waters edge)

Melbourne
Level Contributor
151 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Sydney International Airport

Correction to qk. Im an airline employee and baggage must be collected at the international gateway. You can then take it to the check in counters located on the ground level of the international terminal (Qantas yes, but not sure about Virgin).